WASHINGTON (AFP) – Angry protesters gathered in the US state of California for a second night to condemn recent deaths of black suspects by white officers in the United States, with some demonstrators vandalising, looting and clashing with police.
Several hundred protesters gathered late Sunday and continued marching into early Monday in the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, California, according to police.
Some smashed store windows and looted shops, while a fire was burning on one residential street in Berkley.
The marchers blocked a major highway as they moved to neighbouring city of Oakland amid heavy police presence.
Berkeley police said protesters lobbed bottles and overturned trash cans, which they also set ablaze.
“We have made some arrests I don’t know how many at this point,” said Berkeley police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats.
Police also reported that at least one person was assaulted trying to stop a rowdy demonstrator from looting a shop.
Demonstrations turned violent Saturday in Berkeley, where police used tear gas after clashing with crowds who threw objects, looted shops and vandalised cars. Officials said several officers were injured.
Demonstrations have erupted across the United States over the past two weeks, sparked by a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri after he shot dead an unarmed black teenager in August.
Protests were bolstered by other similar killings, including the July choking death of Eric Garner in New York by a white police officer who wrestled the black 43-year-old father of six to the ground for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes.
The white officer involved in that case was also not indicted by a grand jury last week, provoking a fresh wave of demonstrations in several US cities.
In another case, Akai Gurley, 28, was shot dead when a police officer opened fire in a dimly lit staircase at a New York apartment building as he walked with his girlfriend late on November 20. A grand jury is expected to consider the case.
Protesters in California on Sunday held signs reading “Jail killer cops” and “Ferguson is everywhere. Police brutality and murder must stop” as they marched through the streets and staged “die-ins” by laying on the ground.
High profile sports stars joined the condemnation over the weekend against the spate of recent killings, with several NFL and NBA players wearing T-shirts bearing the phrase “I can’t breathe,” which were the last words uttered by Garner as he was held in a chokehold.