Protest slams Bay Bridge rush hour traffic

Twenty-five protesters were arrested for blocking all westbound lanes of the Bay Bridge for about 30 minutes Monday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The protesters stopped on the bridge just east of Treasure Island and chained themselves together and to several cars just before 4 p.m., CHP Officer Vu Williams said. It took about 30 minutes to cut the chains and get the protesters moved to the side of the bridge so traffic could move again.

After that, police arrested 25 protesters on suspicion of obstructing traffic on a freeway, public nuisance and unlawful assembly, Williams said. Their cars were impounded and they were taken to the CHP San Francisco office to be booked.

Photos by Emma Chiang/SFBay

All lanes of the bridge reopened by about 5:30 p.m. but residual delays were continuing as of about 6 p.m., Williams said.

Members of protest groups Black Seed and the Black Queer Liberation Collective took responsibility for the protest in a statement, citing recent police shootings. The protest was part of a series of actions for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The groups wrote in a statement:

“We are here to move towards an increase in the health and wellbeing of all Black people in Oakland andSan Francisco.”

They are demanding divestment of city funds in policing, investment in affordable housing, the resignation of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the terminations of San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr and Oakland police Chief Sean Whent, and the termination of police officers involved in several recent shootings.

Another protest that started in downtown Oakland moved into Emeryville and shut down the off-ramp to Interstate Highway 80 earlier this afternoon.