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Small-group protesters in Oakland, San Jose and in small Clayton, in Contra Costa county, challenged the orders of the night curfew as darkness fell in the Bay Area on Tuesday, after a day that saw big and peaceful marches in those cities , as well as in Fremont, Redwood City and San Francisco.
Curfew orders have been imposed across the region in response to widespread protests that have become violent at times, with police officers firing tear gas, grenades and rubber bullets at protesters, and with some protesters who they are aimed at looting and starting fires. In Oakland, San Francisco, Walnut Creek and beyond, shops have been hit by looters who have gone into closed shops in chaos.
The potential clash comes after protesters raised signs saying “Black Lives Matter”
C.J. Reed, a 19-year-old African American originally from Newark, said he participated in the march in Fremont to protest police brutality, unwarranted searches and profiling “just to look black,” he said.
“People of color and color have been coming all over the Bay Area, the United States, all over the world for a long time,” Reed said.
In Contra Costa county, protesters met in Concord, at the corner of the busy intersection of Ygnacio Valley and the streets of Clayton around 4:00 PM, according to Tamara Thole Steiner, longtime resident of Clayton and the publisher and the publisher of the newspapers Clayton and Pioneer.
The protesters eventually headed east on Clayton Road, traveling about a mile from some malls and suburban developments, eventually arriving in the center of Clayton, a picturesque town of about 12,000 inhabitants located at the base of Mount Diablo. Some residents joined the protesters along the way, Steiner said.
Waiting for peaceful demonstrators in the center of three blocks of the city were officers from the Clayton Police Department, as well as deputies from the Contra Costa County Sheriff and officers from the Concord and Moraga Police Departments. About 200 to 300 protesters and officers clashed at the west end of Main Street near the Veterans of the Foreign War Memorial, Steiner said.
“Nobody wanted a fight,” said Steiner. “It was a standard protest. They shouted to the police, but nobody made a move. And nobody wanted to create problems. “
The agents seemed tense, Steiner said and at one point, a Clayton police officer told protesters that they had to disperse because of the city curfew – Contra Costa county imposed a 20:00 curfew. Most protesters started to disperse, with about a quarter of the original crowd still there about 30 minutes later, Steiner said. This is when law enforcement officers launched a can of tear gas, hitting protesters including Steiner and a 17-year-old high school student who was sick and started vomiting from the gas. Steiner said he was unaware of any arrests and that the Clayton police chief would speak about the accident Wednesday morning.
It was a much more peaceful resolution in Oakland, where previous marches had ended with police firing tear gas, explosive grenades and rubber bullets at demonstrators who had sometimes become violent. On Tuesday, some protesters had started distributing “tear gas kits”, while others urged their travel companions to return home at 20:00 in Alameda County the curfew took effect.
More than 50 people continued to demonstrate at the intersection of Broadway and Eighth Street for nearly two hours after the curfew. They gave speeches, sang and asked heavily armed officers lined up on one side of the crossroads to lay down their weapons. About two dozen deputies from Kings County sheriffs joined the Oakland police officers.
Just before 10 pm, a police speaker thanked the protesters for their peaceful protest and told them to leave the intersection. Almost all the demonstrators complied and in a few minutes the Oakland police officers and the Kings County Sheriff’s deputies withdrew.
There were no arrests or forces used by the police or violence by demonstrators.
And in San Jose, where clashes between demonstrators and police officers sometimes turned violent, several hundred protesters remained in the town hall while 8:30 pm in the city. the curfew came into effect, apparently ready to challenge the order. A 23-year-old San Jose resident who asked to be identified as K.C. He said he brought saline, medical tape and gauze in preparation for what could happen when curfew begins. Over the past few days, he has watched videos of tear gas and rubber bullets and heard from friends who had been on the front lines.
“That’s why I have all these things. They’re going to put people on high,” said officers from the San Jose Police Department.
But as the day waned, the approximately 200 protesters left – some helmets and gas masks worn – marched first into the Plaza de Cesar Chavez before making a big ride downtown, singing cars and cyclists honking their soaring wheelies. . Police vehicles blocked the entrance to Highway 280 and followed the group’s outer edge, occasionally sounding a siren. When the protesters returned to the town hall, an Audi making donuts at the crossroads was interrupted by the sudden descent of a dense line of officers.
“Go home, or you will be arrested,” an officer called the protesters.
“Please,” replied a young man, kneeling before the officers. “Please, we just want to be heard.”
About 50 demonstrators and police officers confronted each other for about 10 minutes, mainly in silence, before the police officers started moving towards the group, shouting, “Move! Move!” as they pushed forward, firing a rubber bullet. A handful of people were arrested, but by then the crowd of hundreds of the previous day’s march had almost completely disappeared.
Protesters in other cities who held large marches were not so ready to stay late on Tuesday. The protesters in Redwood City returned home after a police officer knelt down with them – San Mateo County has 8:30 pm curfew – and the demonstrators in Fremont were also blown away without incident.
And even in San Jose, not everyone was ready for a fight. Yusuf Zaffarulla, 23, said he had gone out for the afternoon to show solidarity, but would likely have returned home before the curfew.
“I can’t afford to be arrested right now,” he said.
The city announced on Tuesday that it will end at 8:30 pm The curfew order on Thursday morning, with some council members saying the order was unnecessarily antagonizing some residents and the police chief who was aiming at violence for the protests is diminished since Friday.
Journalists Aldo Toledo, Joseph Geha and George Kelly contributed to this report