SAN FRANCISCO—At approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, May 29, the upper deck of the Bay Bridge going westbound was shut down due to a protest, bringing traffic on the bridge to a standstill.
The bridge was reportedly reopened at around 8 p.m. The California Highway Patrol has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Video footage posted on the Citizen app, a program that sends users real-time safety notifications based on their location, shows cars parked horizontally across the five Bay Bridge driving lanes in order to stall traffic.
Earlier that evening, another group of protestors blocked Highway 101 in San Jose. In raw footage, the protestors can be heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd,” the name of a man who died during an arrest by police on Monday, May 25, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The police officer who was recorded pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The Department of Justice has also opened a formal investigation into Floyd’s death, as announced by Attorney General William Barr on May 29. Following this announcement, Barr held a press conference, commenting on the protests that are taking place nationwide.
“The voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchic and far-left extremist groups, using Antifa-like tactics,” Barr said.
Organizers from Friday’s Bay Bridge protest are not confirmed to be connected to far-left extremist groups. The San Francisco News awaits updates as new details on the organizers of the demonstration get revealed.
This is not the first instance of a Bay Bridge protest closure. On January 18, 2016, 25 Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested after chaining five cars together, each car positioned in a separate lane to block traffic. Mia Birdsong, a spokeswoman for the protest’s organizer, Black.Seed., told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time, “Blocking a freeway or a bridge is way more disruptive than blocking an intersection.”