Black Lives Matter protesters blocked all westbound lanes of Interstate 80 on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Sunday evening. They also tried to paint BLM with yellow paint on the bridge before police officers intervened. The protesters reportedly arrived at the bridge in a caravan of about 50 vehicles, according to CBS San Francisco. California Highway Patrol officers first arrived at the scene before San Francisco police arrived.
The car caravan arrived at about 4:30 p.m. local time, and there was a stand-off with police that lasted over two hours. Traffic was backed up for six miles past Emeryville, reports ABC7. The CHP closed the Fremont Steet, Harrison Street and Fifth Street off-ramps to keep protests from getting back to the bridge. There were also several arrests, but the CHP has not released a number yet.
During the backup, drivers got out of their cars to share photos of the scene on social media. Some showed their support for the protesters but were still angry about being stuck in traffic for hours. "Protesters have painted #BLM on the bay bridge and this is the least angry I’ve been while parked at a standstill on the bay bridge for an actual hour," Twitter user Amy Foot wrote.
BAY BRIDGE SHUT DOWN
BLACK LIVES MATTER pic.twitter.com/MhzAzEiWhP— chris🌴ian (@blastedpanda) June 15, 2020
According to the East Bay Times, two westbound lanes were re-opened by 6:30 p.m., and a third 40 minutes later. CHP Golden Gate Division spokesperson Officer Jonathan Fransen said that while the department supports protesters' rights to free speech, the freeway is "an unsafe place to do so, as well as an illegal place to do that." In addition, the Bay Bridge is an elevated bridge, which "poses a lot of safety hazards for protesters, motorists and first responders heading out to that location," Fransen added.prevnext
Cops on foot going to the front pic.twitter.com/4LZR56CCoa— Mandeep (@mandeepnyc) June 15, 2020
There were several protests against racial inequality in the Bay Area this weekend. Protests have broken out nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Former officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, even after he lost consciousness. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers at the scene were fired and charged with aiding and abetting manslaughter.prevnext
We keep driving intermittently and then pausing. Cops create this unit and keep popping out whenever traffic gets blocked again pic.twitter.com/1uoyWE0iq9— Mandeep (@mandeepnyc) June 15, 2020