Protest through Oakland prompts BART station closures

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
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A large crowd of protesters marched through Oakland as part of the "Reclaim King's Legacy" march, which was organized to link the civil rights legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with recent protests against police shootings of unarmed black people.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Police have reopened the Coliseum BART station late Monday afternoon after a civil disturbance prompted closures.

BART officials slowly let people inside the station through one door. Hundreds of Warriors fans and others waited their turn to get up to the BART platform.

Monday was a day of protests in Oakland. Martin Luther King Day started with an early morning visit by protesters to Mayor Libby Schaff's house in the Diamond District.

Several dozen demonstrators marched and sang starting at 5 a.m.

"I woke up this morning knowing it's great to be an American, that we are a city that allows people to peacefully assemble and to protest," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

PHOTOS: Bay Area honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Later in the day, about 2,000 people gathered at the Fruitvale BART station, many of them parents with their children.

Seventh grade student Kai Jones said he thinks it's important to protest because "young men my age and older are getting killed and it's not fair."

"It's empowering to our youth," Oakland resident John Jones said. "They need to understand the legacy that's been handed down to them. People like Martin Luther King made great sacrifices for the opportunities we have today, but sometimes that gets lost."

Carie Johnston also brought her young children with their homemade signs.

"I'm trying to introduce them to some of the subjects they've been hearing about in the news, and I really want them to see up close communities who care about this," Johnston said.

From Fruitvale BART, a large group of peaceful demonstrators marched more than two miles, from the Fruitvale BART to the Coliseum station.

Except for those facilitating the march, police kept a very low profile with van loads of officers staying a few blocks away from the marchers.

PHOTOS: Martin Luther King Day celebrations held across the nation

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