The Oakland Police Department arrested at least six people Monday night after declaring an unlawful assembly in downtown when a protest against the George Zimmerman verdict grew violent, officials said.
Protesters marched through the streets smashing windows, lighting garbage on fire and throwing fireworks at police officers, officials said.
A Flora Restaurant and Bar waiter was hit in the face with a hammer and bleeding, according to tweets from reporters with the Bay Area News Group, which includes the Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News. The same restaurant had its windows broken over the weekend in similar protests.
Photographs from protesters and reporters at the scene showed cracked glass on storefronts and graffiti scrawled across buildings. Some people were burning American flags.
As midnight approached, reporters on the scene tweeted that Broadway appeared to be calming down.
"We will continue to facilitate a nonviolent march and expression of speech for those who wish to participate peacefully," said Officer Johnna Watson of the Oakland Police Department. "Those who are engaging in criminal activity -- we will continue to arrest those persons."
Those already under arrest were charged with a range of felonies and misdemeanors, Watson said. She said more information would be available in the morning once the paperwork was sorted out. She said more people could be arrested if the crowd did not disperse.
Protesters smashed windows of downtown Oakland businesses, including a Comerica bank and a Men's Wearhouse.
Crowds had thrown fireworks, bottles and rocks at officers, Watson said, but she was unsure if they had responded.
Earlier in the evening, about 7:15 p.m., about 150 people marched through downtown Oakland to an onramp to Interstate 880, blocking traffic to the freeway for about 15 minutes, officials said. As the evening wore on, the crowd -- which at its largest point was about 250 people -- dwindled, Watson said.
The level of damage did not equal what happened Saturday, the night of the initial verdict, which found former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The case sparked a national debate about race and gun control and prompted large marches in a number of U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and New York City.
"We still are assessing how many businesses have been vandalized this evening," Watson said. "I don't have a number for you."
It was the third night of protests in Oakland following the not guilty verdict.
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