Published on Friday, March 05, 2010 Last updated on 12:34PM, Friday, March 5, 2010
Protestors take over the 880 freeway in Oakland in both directions as part of the March 4 Day of Action. Photo by Reginald James
Enraged by budget cuts to higher education, students through California walked out, held sit-ins and took to the streets Thursday. In Oakland, some protestors went further.
More than 150 protestors were arrested March 4 after walking onto a downtown freeway. Traffic came to a standstill as they marched onto the Market Street exit, weaving between cars near the Interstate 880 to 980 interchange.
Some motorists honked their horns in support and smiled. Others were visibly upset with their commute being stalled.
The protests were part of a statewide "Day of Action to Defend Education" in which students held sit-ins, rallies and teach-ins. Students marched from Oakland high schools, Laney College and UC Berkeley to downtown Oakland for the rally. Another regional rally was highly attended at Civic Center in San Francisco.
Oakland Police and California Highway Patrol officers chased protestors on the freeway, catching some after they crossed I-880 northbound to the I-880 southbound lanes. Police stormed protestors, dropping them to the ground and clubbing the fallen in the legs, backs and buttocks.
One minor was injured after he jumped off the freeway onto a tree to escape charging police. But branches broke, according to witnesses on the ground, and he fell down onto 5th Street below. He was transported by ambulance to Highland Hospital.
There were 150 people arrested, including 10 minors who were mostly cited and released to their parents’ custody, according to officer Jeff Thomason, Oakland Police spokesman, in an e-mail to the press.
Police blocked off northbound I-880 traffic near the Broadway entrance, before a frenzy of police cars zipped up and down the freeway.
The protestors, who left from a peaceful rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall, shut down the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway. Police cordoned off the intersection to prevent pedestrians from walking on 14th. The protestors, made up of anarchists, punk rockers, black and brown youth and others, headed north to 15th Street.
Protestors walked to Franklin and began to walk against traffic. At 11th and Franklin streets, in front of the office of the University of California President, protestors converged, dancing to music, holding up signs and showcasing the “Occupy Everything” banner to university police who guarded the building's entrance.
Marchers walked west on 11th toward Broadway. They shut down that intersection for several minutes, they continued to Martin Luther King Jr. Way as police ran after them.
Protestors turned left on Martin Luther King, but police formed a barricade line at 10th. Unable to move forward or turn left toward downtown Oakland, they went west toward Castro Street.
At Castro, some protestors walked onto the freeway while others, unwilling to risk arrest, walked off the shoulder.
After being arrested, booked and photographed on the Jackson Street offramp, many were transported to Glen Dyer Jail, near Oakland Police headquarters, and to Santa Rita Jail on misdemeanor charges. Some charges include unlawful assembly and obstructing public places.