Hundreds of protesters turned out in Oakland Wednesday night in solidarity with several days of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the police shooting that left Jacob Blake permanently paralyzed.
Several arrests were made after the county courthouse and local businesses were vandalized and some protesters threw objects at police officers, Oakland police said. No officers were injured.
The protests also prompted closure of the 19th Street BART station and Interstate 580, police said.
“We celebrate passionate protest, but remind Oaklanders that when they attend protests after dark they may be providing cover for agitators who are more intent on vandalism and stoking civil unrest than advancing social justice,” the city said in a statement earlier Wednesday.
Organizers of the downtown demonstration and people who live in the area pleaded with participants to keep it peaceful.
“I respect everything, but at the end of the day, make it be peaceful,” said one resident. “All these people are resting in peace, make it be peaceful. Stop tearing up our city and places where we have to live.”
This comes after the fourth night of often violent protests and riots in Kenosha.
Wisconsin investigators have released the name of the officer who they say shot Blake in the back seven times, permanently paralyzing him.
Officer Rusten Shesky is a seven-year veteran of the police force.
Police have also arrested 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse following a night of protests. He’s charged with intentional homicide after two demonstrators were shot and killed and a third was injured.
Rittenhouse is believed to have been part of an armed militia group not associated with the protest.
“I don’t know this for sure, but the incident that happened last night where two people lost their lives, I think they were part of this group that wanted me to deputize them,” said Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth.
Organizers of Wednesday’s Oakland event said the violence in Wisconsin has renewed their efforts to push for change.
“The best way to defeat these racists and that these racist shootings in Kenosha don’t happen again is if we stay in the streets,” said protest organizer Maricruz Lopez.
In a series of tweets Wednesday night, the Oakland Police Department first asked that protest organizers help law enforcement provide a safe space for demonstrations, followed by reports of violence and civil unrest.
“Some people in the crowd are setting fire to garbage cans and breaking windows along Broadway,” one tweet read.
According to police, agitators within the crowd also attempted to set fire to a business, set off illegal fireworks and threw items at officers.
Around 10 p.m. BART closed the 19th Street station in Oakland due to a civil disturbance.
Around 10:45 p.m. the CHP said Interstate 580 was shut down in both directions at Lakeshore Avenue.
Around 11:30 p.m. police tweeted that people vandalized and started a fire at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse.