OAKLAND (AP) — Ninety-two people were arrested in Oakland on Tuesday night as demonstrators vandalized businesses and blocked freeways, while in Los Angeles nearly 200 people were arrested or cited in continuing California protests spawned by a Missouri grand jury’s refusal to indict a white police officer in the shooting of a young black man.
Los Angeles protesters also stormed a downtown freeway Wednesday morning. In San Diego, protesters disrupted Interstate 5 traffic early Wednesday.
Violence and looting, however, was largely confined to Oakland and worse than Monday night.
The number arrested Tuesday more than doubled from the night before; only 40 people were taken into custody Monday.
On Tuesday, protesters smashed windows at a luxury car dealership, several eateries, a paint store and a convenience store in a two-block area about 2 miles from the heart of downtown Oakland.
Protesters bashed windows at a Kelly-Moore Paints store, pulled gallons of white paint from the shelves and splattered it in the intersection and at a cafe.
A paint store employee declined comment Wednesday morning.
At the nearby Arbor Cafe, protesters broke windows and tossed white paint on the floors and tables.
Cafe owner Eric Marquez is all for freedom of speech, but he is upset with how the protesters are voicing their outrage.
“It was violent, chaotic, and I think very unnecessary,” Marquez told to KNTV.
At a nearby luxury car dealership, vandals kicked windows and caused about $10,000 in damage to the business and dinged a blue 1968 convertible Mercedes, KNTV reported.
Back in the streets, protesters burned mattresses, trash cans and debris, police said There were no reports of injuries to protesters, but three police officers were injured, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.
Protesters briefly closed Interstates 580 and 980, but Oakland police officers in riot helmets kept them clear them from traffic lanes.
Carrying banners and signs, the group then marched through downtown streets with police motorcycles and patrol cars trailing closely behind, their emergency lights flashing.
The protesters, some wearing bandanas over their faces, used the stolen paint to write messages against police.
Police estimated 350 people protested Tuesday upset that a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The grand jury decision was announced Monday night.
In Los Angeles nine people were arrested late Wednesday morning after they sat in a bus lane alongside the U.S. 101 freeway near downtown, police Chief Charlie Beck said.
At a press conference, Beck also released new information on arrests made overnight as groups of demonstrators roamed the central city, mostly blocking intersections, although some did run onto a freeway. There were 167 arrests for disturbing the peace and one for felony battery on a police officer, Beck said. An additional 15 juveniles were cited for curfew violations.
The Los Angeles demonstrations have been mostly noisy but non-violent civil disobedience, without major damage or property destruction.
The LAPD and the California Highway Patrol have been “extremely generous” in the leeway given protesters to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Beck said.
“But that can only reach a certain limit,” he said. “We will not allow people to significantly impact the activities of the city of Los Angeles.”
San Diego protests included a Tuesday night march in City Heights and downtown and a group that blocked State Route 15. Some of those protesters threw bottles at police and an unlawful assembly was declared, U-T San Diego reported.
On Wednesday morning, a line of demonstrators blocked northbound Interstate 5 in the La Jolla area.