By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON
Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets, stopping traffic, breaking windows and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store, and a major freeway was blocked in the San Francisco Bay Area in the third night of protests in California over George Zimmerman’s Florida acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
In Los Angeles, several hundred mostly peaceful protesters gathered Monday night at Leimert Park southwest of downtown, many of them chanting, praying and singing.
But a smaller group of about 100 people splintered off and began blocking traffic on nearby Crenshaw Boulevard, some of them jumping on cars and breaking windows.
There was at least one arrest and more were expected, Los Angeles Police Lt. Andrew Neiman said. At about 10 p.m., a few hours after the splinter protest began, police declared the group an unlawful assembly, and many in the crowd began to disperse.
Several protesters ran into a Wal-Mart store, where they knocked down displays before store security chased them out, and police began guarding the door.
TV news helicopters showed some people apparently throwing punches along the street. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
In Oakland, dozens of demonstrators briefly blocked all lanes of Interstate 880 at the tail end of rush hour Monday evening, stopping traffic in both directions for several minutes before they were cleared by authorities. Several protesters laid their bicycles on the ground in front of stopped cars.
Later, another group tried to march up the onramp to Interstate 580 before being turned away by Oakland police and California Highway Patrol officers.
The freeway protesters broke off from a larger group organized via social media that gathered at Oakland City Hall about an hour earlier. Several people were arrested for acts of violence and vandalism while marching from City Hall, authorities said.
Over the weekend, demonstrators in Oakland and Los Angeles blocked traffic and clashed with police in protests over a Florida jury’s acquittal of neighborhood watch volunteer Zimmerman in the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager.
Police shot beanbag rounds and arrested six people _ including one on suspicion of assaulting an officer _ while breaking up relatively small demonstrations before dawn.
No injuries were reported to either demonstrators or officers.
Most demonstrations around the state were peaceful.
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a letter Monday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder supporting the Justice Department decision to review the case to determine whether Martin’s civil rights were violated.