I-80 blocked by protesters in Berkeley

Protesters have blocked both directions of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue in Berkeley twice Monday night.

About a hundred protesters were seen entering eastbound lanes of the Eastshore Highway near University Avenue and some jumped over the center divide to westbound lanes around 8 p.m. CHP officers were able to quickly take the protesters off the freeway.

The off-ramps to University Avenue from the freeway where Interstate Highway 80 and Interstate Highway 580 intersect have been closed At about 8:45 p.m., protesters were seen walking on eastbound and westbound lanes of the freeway near University Avenue bringing cars to a halt.

Demonstrators were also seen walking on a pedestrian overcrossing above the freeway south of University Avenue and were blocked by police. The large group has gathered in the city’s downtown area against decisions made by grand juries to not indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men Missouri and New York.

Ferguson, Missouri police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, 18, in August and last month a grand jury did not indict Wilson, who has since resigned from his position. Garner, 43, was held in a chokehold by New York City police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and died in July.

The grand jury’s decision to not indict Pantaleo was announced last week. The march started around 5 p.m. at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue near the University of California at Berkeley campus.

The group then walked to Shattuck Avenue and reached the city’s Police Department headquarters at 2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Way around 6:30 p.m. They then continued marching west to University Avenue, according to police.

Police said the demonstrators have been peaceful, though some threw objects while at police headquarters. The Downtown Berkeley BART station at 2160 Shattuck Ave. was closed shortly before 6:30 p.m. due to the protests and trains are not stopping at the station, a BART dispatcher said.

A line of police officers in riot gear attempted to block protesters from reaching Interstate Highway 580 in Berkeley this evening. The protesters were heard chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot,” as officers were assembled on Sixth Street at University Avenue at about 7:30 p.m. to prevent hundreds of protesters from entering the freeway.

There were also demonstrators at San Pablo Avenue and Addison Street as of about 8 p.m., police said. Around 8:30 p.m., protesters were seen blocking an Amtrak train near Addison Street. Traffic is heavy in the area including University Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, according to police.

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit officials said some buses have been detoured due to the protests and there may be delays on its Transbay lines such as the F and LC lines. Protests on Saturday and Sunday nights turned violent resulting in multiple arrests, vandalized businesses and injured police officers, according to police.