As roiling protests continue in major cities across the country following the wave of prominent killings of black men by police officers, demonstrators chained themselves to the Oakland Police Department's doors and a flagpole on Monday morning, prompting the arrests of over a dozen protesters, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Monday's protest saw over 250 people block access to Oakland police headquarters for over four hours, as one bold protester climbed a flagpole and replaced the American flag with one that bore the words "Black Lives Matter." Others linked holding black tubes that read "Silence Is Violence," to form a barrier, and blocked traffic on a busy downtown street for two blocks, reported Huffington Post.
The protest took place despite the rainstorm, continuing efforts to highlight the problem of police officers killing unarmed black men in high-profile cases in recent months across the country and in the Bay Area, said Huffington Post. Beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m., the protest continued for about five hours.
According to the LA Times, those arrested were taken into custody on suspicion of obstructing and blocking a public safety building and delaying a police officer, Oakland police said in a statement. The city's police department also added:
Three of these doors are our main ingress and egress for the public and Oakland Police Department personnel. As a result, the public could not access important police services, such as reporting crimes, obtaining public records, accessing necessary paperwork for vehicle impound releases and property releases.
The police snipped the chains off the protesters with a pair of cutters and removed them from the front doors of the building, which was sealed shut, reported the LA Times.
Monday's Oakland protest was organized by local black groups, namely BlackOut Collective, Onyx, Black Lives Matter and Black Brunch. The groups have also previously organized protests that shut down the West Oakland BART station and marches through Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood. One of its organizers, Cat Brooks, told ABC 7:
There's a war on black people and the police are the army in that war. We are on the precipice ... of a new civil rights movement.
Oakland has seen ongoing protests for a few weeks now, since the Ferguson grand jury's decision to acquit Darren Wilson. Last week, undercover police officers clashed with protesters after they were identified — a photo from the protest of an undercover cop brandishing a gun at protesters went viral over the weekend.
So far, protesters are keeping up the pressure on authorities. In New York City, where the police officer who held Garner in a chokehold was similarly acquitted by a Staten Island grand jury, as many as 60,000 people came out over the weekend to protest the no-indictment.
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