Protester falls from freeway
March 4, 2010 8:52 PM
The Day of Action protest in the East Bay turned ugly in Oakland early this evening when a protester fell from a section of Interstate 880 and was taken away in an ambulance.
After snaking through the streets of downtown Oakland and being trailed and cut off by police, roughly 50 protesters marched into oncoming traffic on Interstate 880 where they were cornered and arrested by police.
As the police moved in, one protester came crashing through a tree beneath the interstate. The man lay motionless on the ground according to Pablo Cepero, who rushed to the fallen man's side.
"He was gurgling," Cepero said. It was unclear whether the man jumped, fell or was pushed said Cepero, a 47-year-old Oakland resident who was following the protest.
Photos: Adam Lau / special to [X]press
A small contingent of approximately 100 demonstrators continued to protest after the rally outside Oakland City Hall ended at 4 p.m. Police in riot gear gathered around the crowd at Broadway and 14th Street as the Queens of the Stone Age's "No One Knows" blared from speakers being hauled by a bike.
The demonstrators moved away and continued to twist and turn through the maze of streets, pausing momentarily outside the University of California office of the president to make him aware of their grievances.
Police continued to amass and a large force began to trail the protesters from behind. Five blocks later at Martin Luther King Jr Way and 11th Street chaos broke loose. Police began charging from behind as demonstrators began nearing the interstate ramp along Castro Street. Shotguns were out and gas masks were on, but the group of demonstrators in front of the chaos lit flares and marched into oncoming interstate traffic while the police cornered those remaining on Castro Street and pushed them down the street with no apparent goal but continued exercise.
A California State University East Bay student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that he and others were riding their bikes along the interstate heading east when they saw police approaching from ahead. They rode back warning the other protesters on foot. The bikers were able to escape via the 17th Street exit. The demonstrators on foot were not so lucky.
The condition of the injured demonstrator is unclear at this point, as is the number of arrested. The protest emanating from University of California, Berkeley had been a peaceful event all day until shortly after 4 p.m.
Prior to that, an array of student groups, teachers' union and university workers' union groups convened on the south side of UC Berkeley's campus and marched south on Telegraph Avenue into downtown Oakland. On the way they were joined by enthusiastic elementary school students from Willard Middle School, who sprinted out the front door, and North Oakland Community Charter School students.
"They're the future," said Kayla Kirsch, a parent of one of the North Oakland students. "They've lost physical education, they're losing arts and teachers. These kids deserve more," she said as the charter school students continued to chant, "S.O.S. Save our schools!"
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