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Protesters reconvene for 2nd night of demonstrations, more destructive than the 1st

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Update 12/8/14: This article has been updated to reflect further information from the Berkeley Police Department.

A minority of protesters shattered Civic Center windows, vandalized Berkeley storefronts and blocked an Oakland highway Sunday on the second night of increasingly destructive demonstrations over the recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.

Five individuals connected to the demonstrations were arrested Sunday night, according to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats. They included an individual arrested on suspicion of damaging Trader Joe’s and an individual arrested on suspicion of throwing a heavy object that injured a BPD officer.

Demonstrators returned to Berkeley by 11 p.m. after stopping traffic on the Highway 24 on-ramp in Oakland. Several cries of “peaceful protest” were ignored as protesters marched through the areas of Telegraph Avenue and Downtown Berkeley. Members of the crowd allegedly began damaging store windows near campus, including those of The Student Store and CREAM, while many other protesters linked arms and stood in front of cracked windows in an attempt to prevent further damage.

The windows of cellular providers and some ATMs of several banks were also damaged as protesters continued down Bancroft Way toward Shattuck Avenue. At about 11:42 p.m., police formed a line at the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Allston ways, and, soon after, members of the crowd threw garbage bins into the streets and set them on fire.

At 12:23 a.m., about 200 protesters marched up Ashby Avenue toward Telegraph Avenue, after about 10 people allegedly vandalized Walgreens, Berkeley Bowl and Any Mountain on Shattuck Avenue just south of Russell Street. Once they reached the intersection of Telegraph and Ashby avenues, about a dozen people broke into Whole Foods.

Ten minutes later, police arrived at the scene, causing many protesters to disperse. Soon after, a bus carrying police arrived at the intersection of 66th Street and Telegraph Avenue. Police congregated just south of Whole Foods, advising protesters to go north rather than continue south on Telegraph.

Follow the path of the protests below.

[gmaps url=”https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=zNLQ8fmuZV7w.kFIi8S7ryEiA”][/gmaps]

The protest had begun peacefully at 5 p.m., when demonstrators marched from Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way, chanting, “Out of the house and into the streets.” They passed in front of Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3 — three residence halls — before heading Downtown, where they blocked traffic.

Adhithya Ravi, a UC Berkeley sophomore who attended the first day of protests around midnight, said he joined Sunday’s continuing march because of the violence he witnessed Saturday and through videos online.

“At first, I thought the cops were there just for crowd control, but my friends were backing up, and the cops were pushing a stick at them,” Ravi said. “It was awful because I saw so many of my friends get pushed — that hurt more than anything.”

Protesters met a police barricade at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and Addison Street. The group then turned and marched past Civic Center Park before returning southbound on Shattuck Avenue toward the highway, where protest leaders briefly spoke to the crowd to address matters of safety, advising them to stay peaceful.

As of about 7:30 p.m., the protest was largely peaceful, except for a bottle thrown at police officers, according to an alert from the Berkeley Police Department. Yet soon afterward, some members of the demonstration allegedly smashed in the windows of a RadioShack located at Shattuck Avenue and Dwight Way. Others shouted, “Peaceful protest.”

According to BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats, a man was hospitalized after being hit by a hammer while attempting to prevent vandalism at the store.

By 8 p.m., a group of 100 to 200 protesters steadily marched south on Shattuck Avenue toward the Highway 24, yelling, “Shut it down,” while another group splintered off onto Ward Street toward Telegraph Avenue. They eventually regrouped to try to stop traffic on the highway, rejoining protesters who were sitting and waiting a block away from the on-ramp at 52nd Street and Shattuck Avenue.

There, California Highway Patrol officers formed a police line. At approximately 8:45 p.m., police deployed tear gas near the on-ramp.

About 100 to 150 protesters climbed an ivy wall to the side of the ramp onto the blocked highway. The remaining majority of protesters decided to turn and march down Claremont Avenue toward Clifton Street. An advancing police line pushed the highway protesters down the highway to exit at Clifton Street, where they rejoined the main group.

Tensions rose around 10 p.m., when a brick was thrown through the back window of an empty highway patrol car. Protesters were shouting at their peers for a “peaceful protest.” Minutes later, a few protesters allegedly slashed the tires of police cars and attempted to flip over another car under the freeway overpass.

Protesters then returned north on Telegraph, where a minority of protesters vandalized businesses.  Yet by 1:35 a.m., the majority of protesters had dispersed. A group of about 100 people remained at the intersection of Telegraph and Alcatraz avenues, where a few people allegedly started a fire.

Similar to Sunday, protesters congregated Saturday on campus around 5 p.m. and made their way Downtown, where they rallied outside the Berkeley Police Department. The group faced a police line off of University Avenue, and soon after, a few members allegedly vandalized storefronts, including those of Wells Fargo, RadioShack and Trader Joe’s — the third of which resumed regular hours the next morning.

On Saturday, officers reported being hit with rocks and bricks, and they eventually deployed multiple rounds of tear gas. Throughout the night, demonstrators traveled to the border of Oakland and back, ranging in number from up to 1,000 to the handful who remained when the crowd dispersed about 2:30 a.m.

Sunday’s protesters included Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who called for an investigation of the force used by police Saturday night.

“I’ve gotten a number of reports from people who were nonviolently protesting, but there was excessive police force,” Arreguin said.

On Saturday night, six individuals were arrested, including a juvenile. Kyle McCoy, a former UC Berkeley student who was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, will be arraigned Monday in Oakland at 2 p.m.

Multiple Facebook events were created encouraging students and community members to clean up in response to the destruction of property throughout the city. According to Coats, the City of Berkeley Public Works Department is in the process of helping secure and board the windows of affected businesses.

Corrections: A previous version of this article stated that windows were shattered at the Cal Student Store. In fact, windows were damaged at The Student Store, located at 2470-2480 Bancroft Way.
Senior staff writers Sophie Ho and Kimberly Veklerov and staff writers Jessie Lau and Arielle Swedback contributed to this report. Contact Bo Kovitz, Chloee Weiner and Melissa Wen at [email protected].

DECEMBER 08, 2014