Anti-Trump protests continue for second day in California following a night of vandalism and arrests
By Joseph Serna, James Queally and Matt Hamilton
Nov 10, 2016 | 3:50 PM
Dozens of arrests were reported during a second day of protests in California on Thursday as people from the Bay Area to Los Angeles took to the streets forcefully denouncing President-elect Donald Trump.
Demonstrations continued into the morning with students in San Francisco and downtown Los Angeles walking out of classrooms and marching in the streets.
In San Francisco, the California Highway Patrol confronted a small group of students who were attempting to march onto the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Just after 3 p.m. in Boyle Heights, a group of protesters walked onto the westbound 10 Freeway, near the 710 Freeway, and across lanes for about 20 minutes, said Officer Kevin Tao of the California Highway Patrol.
Officers diverted traffic as they drew protesters off the freeway.
Police cruisers blocked the crowd of protesters from reentering the freeway near Cal State Los Angeles.
“We don’t know where these groups of protesters came from,” Tao said.
In Los Angeles, 28 people were arrested overnight for impeding traffic when hundreds of protesters poured onto the 101 Freeway downtown, LAPD officials said.
In the loud and aggressive demonstration, many chanted, “Not my president,” and “Respect all women.” The mostly young crowd marched through the city before heading onto the freeway near Alameda Street.
The pack of hundreds — many screaming against both Trump and law enforcement, others riding skateboards on the freeway — caused a traffic backup that extended for miles.
The freeway was cleared, and all lanes were reopened by 4 a.m. Thursday, the California Highway Patrol said.
In Santa Ana, an estimated 650 demonstrators marched to Bristol Street and McFadden Avenue, where they squared off with police. A brick was thrown into a police cruiser, two other vehicles were damaged and two businesses were vandalized, said Santa Ana Police Cmdr. Phil Craft.
Officers fired bean bags to disperse the crowd, and 10 people were arrested, he said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department assisted with crowd control, officials said.
In Oakland, more than 7,000 protesters crowded onto city streets where several businesses and cars were vandalized and some rocks and bottles were thrown at police, said Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“Graffiti and broken windows were left behind by a group of anarchists who continually invade these otherwise peaceful protests with the intention of doing nothing but causing destruction,” she said in a statement.
Police used tear gas to break up the crowd. Eleven people were cited, reported KRON-TV.
Schaaf offered an explanation for the police response.
“While I know it’s little comfort to you, I want to explain why it seems our Police Department cannot stop them,” she said. “The police who are responsible for the safety of the crowds and our community during these protests are very often the target themselves. When they step in to stop an act of vandalism while it is happening, they become the new focal point for the crowds, which can lead to an escalation of violence, not a decrease in the vandalism.”
Three Pleasanton police vehicles were damaged in the demonstrations. Oakland police said some in the crowd threw fireworks, M-80s and Molotov cocktails and started 40 fires. Officers arrested 30 people and cited 11 others, officials said.
Not all protests ended in arrests. In front of L.A. City Hall, demonstrators torched a giant Trump head in effigy, which sent ashes raining. Marchers spray-painted profanity-laced screeds on TV news vans and on the nearby Los Angeles Times building. Fireworks also were shot off near the LAPD’s headquarters.
In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he understood that Tuesday’s election was “painful” for many Angelenos and that protests can help heal the community, but he urged demonstrators to keep their protests peaceful.
“One of our greatest privileges as Americans is the right to free expression,” Garcetti said. “But walking and throwing objects onto freeways is dangerous for pedestrians and drivers — and it puts a heavy burden on people just trying to make it home to their families or get to work safely.”
Among the demonstrators’ chief complaints Wednesday: what they perceive as Trump’s racist and misogynistic rhetoric while campaigning for the presidency.
Jose Figueroa, 25, described Trump as a “racist and a rapist.”
Figueroa acknowledged that Trump was chosen in a legitimate election. But he protested the Republican’s rise, contending it stemmed from racism and diverged from the values of the American people.
“He won fairly,” Figueroa said. “But there’s a lot of violence that could come to a lot of people.”
The group was a mix of crowds that marched to City Hall from Pershing Square and Staples Center. Their signs stated, “Make America Love Again” and “Love Trumps Hate.” Others said, “Wall Street Is the Enemy.”
LAPD officials said late Thursday morning they still were tallying reports of property damage related to the protest, including vandalism reported outside City Hall.
Josh Rubenstein, a department spokesman, said rocks and bottles were thrown at police during the demonstration, but no serious injuries were reported.
The evening protests mirrored others across the nation, including in Seattle and Chicago. It was the second night of demonstrations against Trump’s victory in some of the country’s biggest cities.