About 2,000 rally in Oakland in reaction to police shootings

About 2,000 angry protesters marched through downtown Oakland, blocking traffic on Interstate 880 and pouring red paint on the front door of an Oakland police station in solidarity with two black men fatally shot by police officers this week in Louisiana and Minnesota. Cars were backed up for hundreds of yards in both directions on the elevated downtown freeway after hundreds of protesters swarmed up the on-ramps around 8:45 p.m. and began dancing, playing music and spray-painting slogans on the pavement. “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” the crowd hollered as it proceeded south on Broadway to the police station at Seventh Street, where they encircled the front door and threw what appeared to be red paint on it. An unidentified male freeway protester was being treated for a seizure, authorities said. A dozen police on motorcycles drove onto the freeway, but, after seeing that they were outnumbered by hundreds of protesters, turned around and left. Around 10 p.m., a handful of cars managed to maneuver free of the jam and continue southbound before a group of protesters rushed to set up another blockade at the spot and prevent any more movement of traffic. A line of police officers walked toward protesters blocking the southbound lanes of I-880 shortly before midnight. Multiple officers pushed protesters back and cleared the southbound lanes, but protestors remained in the road in the northbound lanes. The protest began around 7 p.m. with speeches before a small crowd in the plaza, where speakers called for justice and police accountability. Another speaker, the uncle of slain BART passenger Oscar Grant, called on the crowd to remember “that the power lies with us.” “We can bring a change as we come out in numbers to make that happen,” said Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson Jr., the uncle of the man shot and killed by a BART police officer at the Fruitvale Station in 2009. The event, billed as the Shut It Down Rally & Action, was sponsored by the organizations Live Free and Anti-Police-Terror Project. The Rev. Ben McBride of the Oakland Leadership Center, lead organizer for the rally, said his daughters “are afraid that the police are going to kill their father.” Castile, 32, was shot Wednesday during a traffic stop in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, Minn. “For #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile, and for all the women trafficked and exploited by the rapists and murderers in Oakland Police Department and across the Bay Area,” said the rally organizers’ post on social media. “Police, stop killing our children, police, stop sexually exploiting our young people,” McBride hollered. […] black lives matter, there will be no peace in these streets.

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