At least nine people were arrested in Oakland as a third night of demonstrations against the George Zimmerman verdict again grew violent, police said Tuesday.
Unruly protesters broke windows Monday night, set off fireworks and lighted small fires along downtown streets, police said.
Six men, two women and a male juvenile--most from outside Oakland--were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and vandalism, officer Johnna Watson of the Oakland Police Department said in a statement early Tuesday.
A replica BB gun also was recovered from a protester, Watson said.
Hundreds of demonstrators marched through city streets -- briefly blocking Interstate 880 -- Monday evening, with some spray-painting graffiti, blocking cars and burning an American flag.
The Bay Area News Group reported several people linking arms in front of the freeway, saying "If L.A. can do it, we can do it too." A group of protesters blocked the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles during demonstrations Sunday.
The Oakland crowd became more heated as the night progressed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. About 10:45 p.m., people smashed windows of three buildings at 15th Street and Broadway, prompting a scuffle between the crowd and the officers who responded to make arrests.
Bottles and rocks were thrown at police and a tear-gas canister was set off, the newspaper said.
Later in the night, a waiter was hit in the head with what appeared to be a hammer as he tried to protect the windows at the Telegraph Avenue restaurant Flora, which had been damaged in weekend protests.
Bartender Phillip Ricafort told the Bay Area News Group that people in black masks walked up to the restaurant window and "tried to bang at it."
The waiter "said, 'Don't do that' and the guy turned around and smacked him in the face with a hammer," Ricafort said.
The waiter was bleeding from the face as he waited for paramedics, Ricafort said. "It was gruesome."
It was the third night of demonstrations in Oakland after a Florida jury acquitted former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.
The decision sparked protests across the country, including Los Angeles, where 14 people were arrested Monday night.
Los Angeles officials said about 150 people splintered off from a peaceful demonstration in the Crenshaw district and began stomping cars and breaking windows.
The group roamed Crenshaw Boulevard and neighboring streets breaking windows, setting fires and attacking several people. Among those assaulted were a television reporter and his cameraman, according to law enforcement authorities.
Several Bay Area journalists suffered minor injuries after they were accosted by protesters over the weekend, the Chronicle reported.
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