Oakland freeway reopens after protesters shouting 'No racist police' shut it down for hours

More than 1,000 demonstrators protesting police violence blocked Interstate 880 in Oakland for several hours Thursday night, and the roadway remained closed until early Friday morning.

A large group of protesters marched onto the roadway from Oakland City Hall, where they chanted “black lives matter” and clapped. Another 1,000 protesters marched city streets, according to the Oakland Police Department.

The crowd on the freeway yelled , “No justice, no peace, no racist police.”

The protest was sparked by the shooting deaths of two black men by police, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Images of the two slain men were projected onto the side of a big rig that was snarled in traffic. At times, protesters climbed onto a big rig and set off fireworks during the sit-in.

Organizers said the protest was about what they see as unchecked police misconduct, including the sex scandal that has engulfed the Oakland Police Department.

The California Highway Patrol reopened lanes and lifted a Sig Alert about 1:15 a.m. During the protest, big rigs had been temporarily allowed to use the I-580 Freeway, according to the CHP.

The protest through Oakland and onto the busy roadway left a trail of vandalism, police said. The department’s headquarters building was defaced with paint and scratches; windows at two businesses were smashed; and graffiti was sprayed on some local buildings, police said.

One person was arrested on suspicion of smashing glass at a grocery store, police said.


10:12 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with information from the Oakland Police Department.

12:51 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details.

This article was originally published at 11:57 p.m.