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Police Militarization Opponents Protest 'Urban Shield' Training Exercise In Oakland

OAKLAND (CBS SF) --Protesters gathered in Oakland on Friday to protest "Urban Shield," a law enforcement training exercise and trade show that according to protesters promotes the militarization of police. The protest has apparently ended peacefully, with no arrests made.

Broadway was closed, initially from 7th to 11th Streets and later at 14th Street, while protestors marched in the area, according to police.

Officers provided traffic control in the area, and no arrests, citations, injuries or uses of force were reported, police said.

The protest started at 4 p.m. in front of the Marriott Hotel at 1001 Broadway, where the conference is being held Thursday through Monday. It was organized by the California Partnership, a statewide coalition of groups that advocate for policies and programs to reduce and end poverty.

Pete Woiwode of the California Partnership told Bay City News Service that those who participated in the rally are opposed to what they believe is the militarization of law enforcement, especially in light of the heavy-handed police reaction to protests in Ferguson., Mo., where a white police officer killed an unarmed black teen.

"Police shouldn't be using tanks and grenade launchers," Woiwode said.

Earlier on Friday, Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, a spokesperson for Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who also is running for mayor, and family members of people who have been killed by law enforcement officers held a news conference speaking out against the event, Woiwode said.

Jeralynne Blueford, whose son Alan Blueford was killed by Oakland police two years ago, spoke at the news conference. "In the military you are trained to shoot to kill and that's what he did to my boy. He shot him, like an animal in the street," she said.

This is the eighth year the Alameda County Sheriff's Office has hosted Urban Shield.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson wasn't available for comment Friday but he said during the conference last year that its purpose is to train law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics on how to respond to natural disasters as well as man-made disasters such as explosions and mass shootings.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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