Police Brace for More Protests Tonight in Berkeley

After a weekend of tear gas, riot squads, broken windows, and road blockage, police and clean-up crews are bracing for yet another night of protests in Berkeley.

According to ABC News, hundreds plan to demonstrate tonight over a grand jury's refusal to indict the New York police officer who killed unarmed black man Eric Garner. That incident is one in a spate of unpunished killings that inspired the national Black Lives Matter campaign, an ad hoc social movement launched after the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.

In recent weeks protests have flared up throughout the country, and they've become a nightly spectacle in Bay Area cities that already have an entrenched history of political organizing. In Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco these events hew to a predictable pattern: Marches that start off peacefully eventually devolve into chaos, and into a cat-and-mouse game between protesters and police. 

[jump] Meanwhile, journalists assiduously live-tweet the action on social media, allowing spectators to follow the play-by-play from the comfort of their own home computers.

A Berkeley police spokeswoman told the Chronicle that several officers were pelted with flying objects, and at least six people were arrested in the aftermath of this weekend's skirmishes. SF Weekly is still waiting on a definitive arrest tally from the department. 

Meanwhile, businesses along Shattuck Avenue and other main corridors are battening down the hatches; yesterday Starbucks closed at 4 p.m.

In the meantime, some demonstrators are getting a break:

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