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article imageProtesters sound off in San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley

By Nathan Salant     Dec 14, 2014 in Politics
San Francisco - Thousands of Californians returned to the streets of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley on Saturday in a show of support for larger protests against recent shootings of unarmed black men by police in other states.
Tens of thousands participated in Millions March protests across the country Saturday, including Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, as organizers tried to channel seemingly unplanned and chaotic demonstrations against police brutality into an organized, peaceful movement.
The Bay Area protests began peacefully and even joyfully as marchers rallied at public buildings and heard speeches urging better race relations in the United States, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Demonstrations have taken place almost nightly in many places since grand juries declined this month to indict white police officers who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Miss., in August and Eric Garner in New York.
But crowds in Oakland again grew violent after dark, with store windows being smashed at Whole Foods Market and Radio Shack on Broadway and several small fires lit in downtown, the newspaper said.
A massive police presence kept violence from growing or getting out of hand, as it had on other nights, and the protest petered out by 10:30 p.m.
But 45 people were arrested, the newspaper said, including Anwar Adem, 41, of Oakland, who said he was cited for resisting arrest at around 8 p.m.
“I think because I'm a loudmouth and they hate to see a young black male stand up for their 1st amendment rights, they wanted to shut me up," Adem said.
Demonstrators in Oakland gathered at 14th Street and Broadway before marching toward Lake Merritt, stopping for a rally outside the Alameda County Courthouse.
Speakers at that rally included the mother of Oscar Grant, a black man killed by a white transit police officer in 2009 in a tragedy memorialized in the 2013 film, Fruitvale Station.
Oakland police had requested help from other nearby departments and were able to call in officers, many in riot gear, from 11 other departments, including Alameda County sheriffs, Berkeley, Pleasanton and the California Highway Patrol, the newspaper said.
Protest organizers said the demonstration had been successful as long as people remained calm.
“It absolutely went as people had planned it; it was like an honor to be in the streets and in the crowd,” Rev. B.K. Woodson of Oakland, a leader of the group Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, told the Chronicle.
“Now we have to translate this all and leverage it into real actions for change,” he said.
In San Francisco, thousands gathered outside the historic Ferry Building and began marching up Market Street just after 2 p.m. as hundreds of police officers kept watch to prevent groups from breaking off and vandalizing Union Square businesses, which had been rumored.
The crowd reached City Hall for a rally at around 3:30 p.m. after stopping to hold a die-in at Powell Street, the newspaper said.
"This is what you call a movement," Edwin Lindo of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center told the rally.
Lindo said motorists who were stuck in traffic jams as the march continued should not be complaining.
"Sorry for the inconvenience, but we’re trying to change the world,” he said.
In Berkeley, police at the University of California campus took down giant photographs of lynching victims that were mysteriously hung around the campus.
Investigators said the photographs may have been related to a small protest that took place early in the day, the newspaper said.
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