Bay Bridge

29 Arrested After Protesters Block Upper Deck of Bay Bridge for Hours

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Dozens of people were arrested after demonstrators caravanning and marching blocked all lanes of westbound Interstate 80 on the Bay Bridge late Sunday afternoon, officials said.

A rolling caravan of about 50 vehicles was first reported to authorities around 4:30 p.m. Officials said they slowed down and blocked the upper deck of the Bay Bridge just west of Treasure Island.

Around 6:30 p.m., lanes began to reopen, and officials said arrests were being made.

Officials later reported 29 people were arrested, five vehicles were towed and three bicycles were confiscated. People who were arrested said they were charged with unlawful assembly. CHP officials said other charges may be added.

During the demonstration, people were seen getting out of vehicles and drawing "#BLM" in bright yellow chalk in the street.

NBC Bay Area's Special Projects Producer Christine Ni was on the bridge when traffic came to a halt. She said nobody seemed angry or upset about traffic being disrupted.

"Everybody's just hanging out on the Bay Bridge," Ni said after someone on a scooter rode past her and a person in another vehicle took a drink from a cooler.

Protesters are blocking the upper deck of the Bay Bridge Sunday. According to officials, about 50 cars slowed to a stop. People were then seen painting or drawing "Black Lives Matter" in bright yellow on the road. Sergio Quintana reports.

“People were talking to each other in their cars, because no one knew what was going on at that point,” said Ni. “We were just literally parked on the Bay Bridge. It was a nice day to be on the bridge.”

Organizers said they put together the high-profile protest to continue focusing attention on their cause.

A travel advisory issued by the CHP is warning drivers that all lanes of westbound Interstate 80 are blocked by protesters at the Bay Bridge Sunday.

At San Francisco’s Hall of Justice, some of the demonstrators who were arrested and released waited for their colleagues and explained why they shut down the bridge.

“Black Lives Matter is more than just police brutality,” said Dayanara Thompson, a protest organizer. “We’re being murdered in every single aspect. We’re not given opportunities to succeed.”

People who participated said they organized the caravan of vehicles to stop on the western span of the bridge, heading into San Francisco.

“I’m out here for my grandkids,” said Oakland resident Venita Sweeny. “I’m out here for my children, I have a young son. I have three vocal daughters. I do not want them to have a knee on their neck.”

Efforts to disrupt freeway traffic have become a recurring goal for demonstrators. The CHP said the Bay Bridge is an especially dangerous spot because it’s suspended 100 feet over the bay, and the western span isn’t built for pedestrians.

“It’s illegal to protest on a freeway for a reason, and that’s because it’s inherently dangerous, it’s dangerous to be on a freeway,” Officer John Fransen of the CHP said.

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