Berkeley protesters closed down I-80 with “I Can’t Breathe” demonstrations and caused a woman stuck in traffic to go into labor in her car. Attempting to reach the woman in labor amid scores of stopped cars and hundreds of Eric Garner protesters was first responder’s nightmare. Ultimately the Berkeley Fire Department was able to reach the woman near the Ashby Avenue exit, and transport her to the hospital.
The Berkeley protests on Monday were organized by the group which goes by the name, By Any Means Possible. The Eric Garner and Michael Brown protesters also blocked an Amtrak train and reportedly caused the closure of the Downtown Berkeley BART station.
Berkeley traffic was at a standstill for many hours on Monday evening as the “I Can’t Breathe” protest marches continued. At its height, the Eric Garner and Michael Brown protest reportedly involved 1,500 people – the largest Berkeley protest to date. Demonstrators shut down the freeway leading into Oakland in both directions.
Critics of the decision to allow protesters to break the law and stop traffic largely feel the woman going into labor in her car validates their safety concerns. There was also a confrontation on a pedestrian bridge over the I-80 freeway when a CHP motorcycle police officer attempted to curtail Berkeley protesters trying to cross the walkway.
Berkeley firefighters received the emergency call that a woman was going into labor in her car on I-80 around 9 p.m. At 11 p.m. police officers detained 50 protesters behind a Ross store on Shellmound Street in Emeryville. The officers report that the Berkeley protesters were throwing objects at them during the encounter.
Monday evening was the third night of Berkeley protests over the Dan Pantaleo and Darren Wilson grand jury decisions. ABC 7 News reports that business owners in the East Bay area are still attempting to recover from the violent protests over the weekend and were encouraged to close early on Monday night.
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said that while he is proud of the rich history of peaceful protests and demonstrations in the city, what he saw over the weekend was “unacceptable.” Mayor Bates added, “It was really disturbing. It turned violent and it turned violent in a way that we haven’t seen here for a long, long time. Over the weekend, over 16 various stores were trashed, not just major businesses, but small businesses.” The Berkeley elected official said that the police may have “overreacted” on the first evening of the protests when they decided to use tear gas and will review the action.
What do you think about the Berkeley protest and the woman going into labor in her car due to the stopped traffic?
[Image via: Twitter]