OAKLAND — A gathering of protesters who descended upon Oakland without much notice Saturday night to show their opposition to white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., proved to be peaceful despite their brief presence on Interstate 580.
Oakland police did not arrest anybody, and they said early Sunday that they did not issue any citations. There were no reports of vandalism. Approximately 450 people took part in the counter-protest.
A group of about 100 people briefly blocked I-580 at Grand Avenue, but that group dispersed by 11 p.m. Another group of about 50-75 people, dispersed from the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway around the same time.
The protests originated after members of the Occupy Movement called for the rally in downtown Oakland in response to violence in Charlottesville, Va., where three people died during a white supremacy rally.
James Alex Fields Jr., 20, is suspected of driving a silver Dodge Challenger into a crowd of protesters who were protesting the assembly of white nationalists, white supremacists, fascists and others, police said.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old Charlottesville resident, died, and 19 others were injured.
Two Virginia State Police troopers also died, when the helicopter in which they were flying crashed. The troopers, who were in the area to help monitor the protests, were identified as Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper-Pilot M.M. Bates, 40.
In Oakland, the protesters shut down both directions of Grand Avenue around 9:45 p.m., and some of them set off fireworks. The California Highway patrol briefly closed I-580 and threatened to arrest marchers who didn’t clear the traffic lanes. Freeway traffic began moving again around 10 p.m., police said.
More protests were scheduled for Sunday. A group planned to gather in Civic Plaza in San Jose around 10 a.m., and protesters were expected at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland around 3:30 p.m. A candlelight vigil also was planned in Fremont on Sunday night.
Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789