California racial justice protesters set fire to courthouse

A protest through the streets of downtown Oakland, California, in support of racial justice and police reform turned violent when “agitators” among the demonstrators set fire to a courthouse, vandalized a police station and shot fireworks at officers, authorities say.

About 700 demonstrators participate in what started as a peaceful march Saturday night but then some broke from the larger group and smashed windows, spray-painted graffiti and pointed lasers at officers, the Oakland Police Department says on Twitter. Several tweets call for peace and ask organizers to “help us provide safe spaces and safe places for demonstrators.”

Several fires are set in the downtown area, including one at the Alameda County Superior Courthouse that was quickly contained. Police say protesters at one point were “breaking windows and chanting racial slurs at residents.” Photos tweeted by the department show broken glass and paint splattered on the police headquarters building.

Video posted by police show a man kicking down barricades in front of the building after an “unlawful assembly” was declared by police around 11:30 p.m. and officers asked the crowd to disperse. Police say they made several arrests but did not provide details. There were no immediate reports of injuries to protesters or officers.


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