Hundreds of people gathered around Oakland’s Lake Merritt yesterday afternoon, adding their voices to the protests against recent deaths at the hands of police.
A loud, but peaceful parade of cars snaked its way along the lake, with drivers honking and passengers holding their fists out the windows. On the lake’s east side, a line of pedestrians held signs and chanted.
Many in the crowd wore masks. Between the road, sidewalk and grass there was enough space that social distancing could still be respected, more or less. Eddie Sawyer stood inside the door of his parked car:
I’m happy to be here. It’s the first time I ever really protest like this and um, it’s a good feeling and I’ve been out here for about two or three hours. It’s for a good cause and it’s what everybody needs to do, and they don’t need to tear up our community, but they need to be here, doing what they’re doing now.
Sophia Brown was also there and struck a more subdued note.
Right now? I feel, I’m not necessarily angry? What’s a good word?
Her friend pitched in, offering, “Tired. Exhausted. Fed up.” They want to see change.
By 6 pm, the protest had mostly died down. Helicopters would later hover over downtown, just as they had all weekend. But voices of resistance still rang out.