For the third straight evening, demonstrators took to the streets of Berkeley, California to protest the shooting by police of unarmed black suspects Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY. And for the first time in three nights, violence was relatively subdued. Activists meandered around the city, chanted outside the local police department, then blocked the I-80 freeway–twice–and obstructed an Amtrak train.
— Vivian Ho (@VivianHo) December 9, 2014
Demonstrators gathered just outside the gates of the University of California at Berkeley at 5:00 p.m. After a pep talk by organizers–which included a defense of violence as a political tactic–the procession began moving through the city. Small incidents of vandalism continued, but overall the demonstration remained peaceful as it swelled with new participants. Police were restrained, allowing the demonstrators relative liberty to move.
— Berkeleyside (@berkeleyside) December 9, 2014
As on previous evenings, the demonstration lacked formal leadership, and split up several times, with activists uncertain where to move next until someone took the lead. There were tactical splits among demonstrators, with some advocating peaceful methods and others pushing for a more militant approach. It was not any clearer Monday what the demonstration’s goals were, but the protest did achieve a good deal of civil disruption.
— KTVU (@KTVU) December 9, 2014
In addition to stopping traffic on the I-80 and on Amtrak’s Capitol Corridor line, the protests resulted in the temporary closure of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Downtown Berkeley. The demonstrations may continue later in the week, and have rapidly become a focal point of national protest around the Ferguson and Garner issues–partly because the Bay Area is one of the few places still warm enough to gather outside.
Photo: Eden Brower/Twitter
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak