A “Black Lives Matter” protest in Oakland, California, turned violent when a group of demonstrators wearing helmets and goggles and carrying large signs that doubled as shields set fire to a courthouse, vandalized a police station and shot fireworks at officers, authorities said.
— Sarah Belle Lin (@SarahBelleLin) July 26, 2020
About 700 people participated in a demonstration against local and federal law enforcement Saturday night, and some broke from the larger group and smashed windows, spray-painted graffiti and pointed lasers at officers, said Officer Johnna Watson, an Oakland Police Department spokeswoman.
Several fires were set in the downtown area, including one at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse that was quickly contained.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.
— EKF Productions (@kentkessinger) July 26, 2020
Demonstrators hurled rocks, ceramic paint-filled balls and frozen water bottles through windows at the courthouse, federal building and police building in a raucous night that was unlike peaceful marches that have taken place in the city in recent weeks, Watson said.
“This was different,” she said. “This group of protesters had specific intentions to participate in one way or another — whether that’s carrying backpacks in with clearly very heavy items, and the smaller group would actually be engaged in doing the damage — there is a nexus with all of the attendees.”
Some within the crowd of 100s of demonstrators vandalized the police station. Breaking windows, spray painting, shooting fireworks and pointing lasers at officers and helicopters. We ask for organizers to keep the protest peaceful. #WallofMoms pic.twitter.com/SGU6Y7PULg
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) July 26, 2020
Police made several arrests but did not provide details. There were no immediate reports of injuries to protesters or officers or immediate cost estimates of the vandalism, Watson said.
The protest began earlier Saturday evening with groups such as the “Wall of Moms,” similar to a group that formed in Portland, Oregon, as demonstrators faced off with U.S. agents deployed to that city to guard a federal courthouse.
President Donald Trump had sent the federal agents there in response to the rioting that has occurred nightly in the city since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
Rioting also broke out late Saturday in Sacramento. A group of 150 people wearing black clothing and protective gear broke windows and spray-painted graffiti.
Shattered glass, graffiti remain after march in downtown Sacramento https://t.co/fa5t4hnwm4 Chainsaw, helmets and shields. Yes, another “peaceful BLM protest.” I am sick of riots in the streets of my town. SO done with this phase. Grow up.
— Jay Dayvault (@DayvaultJay) July 26, 2020
A television news crew was assaulted and forced to leave the area and one person was arrested, police said in a statement.
In Los Angeles, demonstrators assaulted officers and walked onto a freeway Saturday, according to police. Four officers were treated for minor injuries and four people were arrested, LA police said on Twitter.
A total of four officers and three protestors were treated for minor injuries during the incident. Four individuals were arrested: Three for battery on a police officer, and one, who was in possession of a machete, for causing a disturbance.
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 26, 2020
About 100 demonstrators gathered at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles on Saturday evening, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a release. Rioters broke the glass on the front entrance door and wrote graffiti on the front of the building while there for a few minutes.
The prison was secured and barricade fencing was put up, the release said. There were no serious injuries.
In Oakland, police called on demonstrators to disperse as the night wore on, and little by little they did, but they said they would be back, Watson said.
“The city is here to provide safe places and safe spaces for demonstrations, for marches, for protests,” she said. “However, when there is violence against the police or first responders, this makes it dangerous for everyone.”
Watson said many area businesses were likely spared damage because they were already boarded up following earlier rioting.
On Sunday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement that the demonstrators’ destruction could be used to justify sending federal agents to the city — a proposal that she has rejected.
— Christian Monterrosa (@chrismatography) July 26, 2020
“We celebrate passionate protest but Oaklanders need to know that when they attend protests after dark, they may be providing cover for agitators who are more intent on stoking civil unrest than advancing racial justice,” Schaaf said.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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