Oakland rallies in support of Ferguson

Oakland police officials allege some protestors pepper-sprayed and pushed officers this evening during an anti-police march that started in downtown Oakland Friday evening before moving into Berkeley.

The majority of the crowd, which is protesting a police shooting that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri last week, marched peacefully, while a small group broke away, disrupted traffic and vandalized businesses this evening, a police official said Friday night.

Members of the crowd attempted to control those committing vandalism and other acts along the way, without success, the official said.

Oakland police did not provide any information on arrests Friday evening and said they would have an update on the outcome of the march Saturday morning.

The march began at 14th and Broadway in Oakland at 6 p.m. today with several hundred participants and changed route several times before moving down Telegraph toward Berkeley.

Protestors were stopped at one point on Telegraph Avenue at Parker Street by a line of Berkeley police officers in riot gear and are now moving through Berkeley. Numbers dwindled to less than 100 late Friday night as the march continued down Telegraph from Oakland.

A number of windows on Telegraph were broken during the march, including those at the Bank of the West at 4800 Telegraph, Taste of Denmark Bakery, Telegraph Lofts, Articlepract and 2855 Telegraph.

Other protestors in the group have been heard shouting at those breaking the windows, telling them to stop.

Protestors have chanted “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” and “Justice for Michael Brown” as well as expletives aimed at police as they traveled through the area.

Fireworks were set off at 14th and Broadway earlier in the evening, and freshly spray painted slogans have been seen on buildings including “FTP We Here,” “more dead pigs” and “we will never stop.”

The “hands up” chant has been heard across the country at other protests following the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson after an encounter with a police officer.

Brown was unarmed during the shooting and there are conflicting reports about the events that led to his death.

Brown’s shooting triggered protests and racial tensions in Ferguson, a largely black community with a largely white police force. The heavily armed police response there, which included the use of tear gas, has drawn national criticism and triggered protests in cities around the country.

Oakland was the scene of numerous anti-police protests, some of which led to violent confrontations with police and numerous arrests, during the height of the Occupy movement.

Protestors set up a long-lasting encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza starting in October of 2011 and staged marches from the area, some of which also included vandalism against downtown businesses.

Some businesses in downtown Oakland boarded up windows in preparation for Friday night’s protests.