Berkeley protests block Highway 24

Demonstrations in Berkeley against police brutality moved into Oakland Sunday evening, breaching state Highway 24 at 51st Street, according to police and protesters.

A California Highway Patrol officer said eastbound Highway 24 was closed due to police activity. Reports and photos on Twitter showed protestors on the freeway blocking traffic.

Demonstrator Alessandro Tiberio said the protest began at Bancroft and Telegraph avenues around 5 p.m. with only 50 people. Soon, the crowd swelled to 500 or more, according to Tiberio and police.

Tiberio said the march started with “very positive energy.” He came to the demonstration to support black people who are protesting, he said:

“I’m an ally. … It’s important to stay focused on the fact that black lives matter. It’s not that all lives don’t matter but I’m here to support especially the black people who are most often the ones victimized by the police.”

Berkeley police Officer Jennifer Coats said at least one demonstrator sustained minor injuries when he tried to prevent a business’s windows from being broken by someone at the demonstration:

“One protester was trying to stop another protester from looting and he was struck with a hammer.”

Coats said the man was transported to the hospital with injuries not considered life threatening. No Berkeley police officers were injured tonight, Coats said.

The demonstrators left Berkeley and marched into Oakland around 8:30 p.m. Coats said the group splintered into two groups and accounts on Twitter indicated they met up again near the freeway entrance to Highway 24.

Six people were arrested Saturday night during demonstrations in Berkeley, which coincided with dozens of protests in the Bay Area and across the country this week against police brutality.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets every day in Oakland since a Wednesday grand jury’s decision not to indict a white New York police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man.

The demonstrations this week follow similar protests the week prior stemming from a Nov. 24 grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.