Protesters chain themselves to Oakland police station doors
Protesters chained themselves to the doors of police headquarters in Oakland, California, on Monday, prompting several arrests, and one demonstrator scaled a flagpole to hang a “Black Lives Matter” banner in front of the building.
Oakland and neighboring Berkeley have been the site of demonstrations for more than a week over decisions by grand juries not to charge white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.
Scores of people have been arrested as police in riot gear face off with protesters, some of whom have thrown rocks at the officers and looted businesses.
Most of the confrontations have happened after dark, but more than two dozen demonstrators on Monday morning used PVC tubes, ropes and locks to chain their arms together and block entrances to the Oakland Police Department.
Another group of protesters used similar tactics to chain themselves together to disrupt traffic at two nearby downtown intersections during a heavy downpour.
At police headquarters, officers and firefighters used cutting tools to separate the demonstrators chained together at the doors, and several were taken into custody.
Officer Johnna Watson of the Oakland Police Department said 25 people were arrested for offenses including blocking a public building, and obstructing or delaying a police officer.
The protester who climbed the flagpole stayed up there for several hours, Watson added, but eventually climbed down.
Two BART commuter rail stations in the area were briefly closed because of civil disturbances, officials said.
The protests in California’s Bay Area have been among the most turbulent of a wave of demonstrations across the country over concerns about the policing of black communities.
In protests last week, riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse crowds of demonstrators that were sometimes hundreds strong.
In New York, police said they were looking for three men and three women suspected of assaulting two officers on the weekend during a large protest on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the pair were beaten by a group after the officers tried to arrest a man for attempting to throw a trash can onto a road below.
The man accused of trying to hurl the garbage can, an English professor at a local university, Eric Linsker, was arrested on Sunday and charged with assaulting the officers, police said.
(Reporting by Emmett Berg; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Eric Walsh and Peter Cooney)