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Windows shattered, Christmas tree damaged during Oakland protests

Windows and a Christmas tree were damaged during protests in Oakland against police brutality

Windows were shattered and an outdoor Christmas tree along the Oakland harbor was destroyed Thursday evening during protests demanding an end to police brutality.

No arrests were made, but Oakland police said 10 to 15 vandals used rocks and a skateboard to smash 30 windows on three businesses closed during the Christmas holiday.

Families were gathered at Jack London Square, a shopping center in the Port of Oakland, to look at a Christmas tree on display, when police say the group began destroying its lights and decorations. The vandals, police said, blended into the crowd as officers arrived.

About 150 demonstrators marched from 14th Street and Broadway to Embarcadero West during the "No Time Off" protests, part of a movement against recent police-related killings, including the death of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri.

"We expected a peaceful protest," Oakland police Lt. Carlos Gonzalez said.

For the most part, the protest was peaceful until they reached Embarcadero, he said. By then the crowd of about 150 had dwindled to about 50 demonstrators.

From there, a small group of vandals used rocks that they gathered from nearby railroad tracks to destroy windows, Gonzalez said.

Police ordered the crowd to disperse, at which point they did so.

Police are looking through surveillance video for the vandals who destroyed the tree and windows. Protests are expected to continue again Saturday at 14th Street and Broadway, where demonstrators will participate in a four-and-a half hour die in, he said.

Recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of two unarmed African American men have triggered protests nationwide -- but nowhere has the outcry been as persistent as in the Bay Area. Television stations there have streamed images of demonstrators climbing atop freeways, hurling rocks at California Highway Patrol cars and lighting small fires.

An executive chef at a downtown Oakland wine bar was beaten over two weeks ago as he tried to fend off vandals smashing the plate glass windows, and a protester was struck by a hammer as he attempted to stop a fellow demonstrator from looting a Berkeley Radio Shack.

Investigators are still looking for vandals who allegedly looted and destroyed a MetroPCS store in the 900 block of Broadway on Nov. 24 during protests in Oakland.

And 25 protesters were arrested Dec. 15 after chaining themselves to doors and a flagpole at the Oakland Police Department headquarters.

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