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101 Freeway shut down as Ferguson protesters snarl traffic for 3rd day

Protesters were arrested Wednesday morning after abandoning their vehicles and blocking traffic in both directions of the 101 Freeway, the California Highway Patrol said, on the third consecutive day of protests attempting to snarl Los Angeles traffic.

All lanes were reopened at 9:57 a.m.

Minutes after 9 a.m., calls alerted the CHP that as many as four vehicles were blocking lanes somewhere between Rampart Boulevard and Alvarado Street and as many as 10 people were standing in the southbound lanes, said Officer Kerri Rivas.

CHP officers were on scene within 10 minutes to clear the road. Both directions of traffic were shut down for up to 20 minutes before authorities began to reopen lanes.

Officials said it appeared the protesters had spray painted a message onto the southbound No. 2 lane. Investigators will photograph the paint as evidence of vandalism on state property, said CHP Officer Edgar Figueroa. He would not say what the message said, although TV footage showed an anti-police message with an expletive.

About a half-dozen protesters were arrested in the incident, the CHP said.

Law enforcement has been on high alert since a grand jury in Missouri decided earlier this week not to indict an officer in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.

Additional CHP officers are on patrol and a special response team is standing by to respond quickly to incidents of civil disobedience, Rivas said. The team was deployed to the 101 incident.

Broadcast video on KTLA showed the protesters staging a sit-in protest on the freeway shoulder. Los Angeles police officers began to make arrests by 9:45 a.m.

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