Protesters take to Oakland streets, continue cry to defund OPD

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On Thursday, California Highway Patrol guarded the I-880 ramp from anti-police brutality protesters near Oakland Police Headquarters. As a nationwide call to action, local protesters are continuing their call for the defunding of Oakland Police Department and direct investment in education, housing and health care. Several groups organized the event. 

Demonstrators are also concerned about the widespread sex-exploitation scandal that has affected law enforcement agencies throughout the Bay Area and have asked for the resignation of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Schaaf said she was there to do the people’s work and had no plans to resign.

Shortly before 5 p.m., two groups of protesters formed to make hundreds strong with young children included, marched from both Frank Ogawa Plaza and from OPD Headquarters. The large group converged and marched down Broadway Street in Downtown Oakland. Just after 5 p.m., the crowd reconvened at the plaza.

A day earlier, protesters gathered at Oakland Police Union Headquarters where they began their call for divestment from Oakland Police and had chained or locked themselves to the building. By early Thursday evening, one of the women had freed herself without much fanfare.

KTVU’s Henry Lee was at the scene of the protests and described them as mostly peaceful. One mother said she was there to help teach kids about racial justice, including her 11-year-old son. 

During Wednesday’s protest, Oakland Police Department offered to barbecue with Black Lives Matter, a similar gesture to one that came to fruition in Wichita, Kansas.

One Oakland protester responded “I eat pigs. I don’t eat with them.” To which the police department responded that their offer to open a dialogue with any group of protesters still stands. The protester argued that barbecues won’t stop police brutality.

When the barbecue story was posted on KTVU’s Facebook page, the protester faced much criticism, saying that she was actually part of the problem and that she should have had a more “polite” response.

Others felt she should not be misconstrued as the sole representative of Black Lives Matter, a nationwide movement.