BERKELEY (CBS SF) – Bay Area protesters marched in lockstep with hundreds of thousands of people across the country who filled the streets to denounce the police killings of unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Demonstrators in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and across the country aim to tell Congress that "they will not stand down until there is systemic change, accountability and justice in cases of police misconduct."
Saturday's protest dubbed "The Millions March," is a replay of #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations that have been taking place across the country ever since the grand jury verdicts not to indict the police officers who shot and killed Brown and Garner.
Throughout the day, 1000s of people of all races marched carrying signs and banners, and chanted slogans like "Hands Up, Don't Shoot," "Black Lives Matter," and "I Can't Breathe," in Washington D.C., New York, Boston, and Missouri.The protests were loud, but for the most part, peaceful. There were some arrests, including six in Boston, after protesters tried to block a freeway on-ramp.
In San Francisco, the Embarcadero was shut down temporarily as protesters marched to City Hall. By early afternoon protesters gathered at Civic Center Plaza.
The protests caused major gridlock across The City. There were major backups around 7th Street and in the Mission. Motorists were advised to steer clear of the demonstrations.
In the East Bay, police helicopters hovered in the sky as demonstrators made their way from Berkeley to a "Millions March" to Oakland. By afternoon, several hundred protesters had gathered on the steps of the Alameda County Courthouse. The group said they are calling attention to violence against communities of color.
According to Oakland police another 300 people took BART from Berkeley to the Rockridge BART station in Oakland around 1:45 p.m. to join the demonstration.
As of about 2:15 p.m., 1000 protesters had gathered at 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland, police said.
A "Million March" was scheduled at 2 p.m. at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, according to a Facebook event page.
Meantime, in Berkeley, a large demonstration traveled south on Ashby Avenue to Berkeley's College Avenue corridor and motorists were been advised to avoid the area, Berkeley police said.
Community organizers held another "Ferguson2Cal" rally at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue near the University of California at Berkeley campus.
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit lines 49 and 51A have been rerouted due to the Berkeley protests, transit officials said.
For the most part Saturday's protests were peaceful. There were reports of some vandalism at a Radio Shack store, but nothing like the violence seen in the past. Last week, protests in Berkeley and Oakland became violent when night fell, when anarchist fringe groups infiltrated the demonstrations.
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