San Francisco

Black Lives Matter Protesters Block Interstate 80 On-Ramp in San Francisco

Dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters snarled traffic in San Francisco Saturday as they denounced police brutality by blocking on-ramps to Interstate 80 before marching to Union Square.

Police spokeswoman Grace Gatpandan took to Twitter around 2 p.m. saying that people should expect delays in the vicinity of 5th and Byant streets due to "peaceful demonstrations." 

California Highway Patrol officials said via social media that police activity has shut down the 5th Street on-ramp to eastbound I-80. They asked people to avoid the area.

Officials said around 3:30 p.m. that the freeway had been reopened as demonstrators moved toward in downtown San Francisco, blocking Market and 5th streets. However, protesters then proceeded to block Essex and Harrison streets and the Essex Street on-ramp to eastbound I-80, according to CHP officials. As of 4:45 p.m., law enforcement officials had prevented the group from getting on I-80.  Shortly after 5 p.m., CHP reported that the Essex Street on-ramp had reopened to traffic.

San Francisco Municipal Railway bus lines were being rerouted, officials said. As of 5 p.m., delays on lines 8, 30, 45 and 47 had been cleared. As of 7 p.m., the protest was winding down and people began to disperse. The protesters never managed to get onto the Bay Bridge, according to CHP Officer Vu Williams. 

Witnesses tweeted videos showing officers in riot gear climbing out of police vans. 

Rallies are sweeping the United States on the heels of two police-involved shootings in as many days and the gunning down of five police officers in Dallas.

Another Black Lives Matter in San Francisco Friday evening started at Justin Herman Plaza. Hundreds of outraged demonstrators marched to a well-guarded City Hall.

Emotions ran high in reaction to the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

"Stop killing black people," protester Imani Brown said. "We're human beings. We matter just as much as anyone else. The murders of black women's sons should matter as much as the murder of white women's sons."

An estimated 2,000 people also marched in Oakland late Thursday. A group of marched onto Interstate 880, shutting down all lanes of the highway, until the early hours of Friday.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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