An estimated 150 people were arrested this evening after a splinter group broke away from a large protest in Oakland and took to Interstate Highways 880 and 980, a police spokesman said.
At about 5 p.m., demonstrators walked onto northbound Highway 980 from 11th street, blocking that highway and subsequently Highway 880 in both directions, police Officer Jeff Thomason said.
Thomason said those arrested were part of a "group that broke off and obviously had an agenda and wanted to disrupt the freeways." Traffic was snarled in the area, affecting thousands of commuters.
California Highway Patrol Officer Nicole Pacheco said both highways were clear by 6 p.m.
Thomason said more than 150 protesters were arrested.
Additionally, one protester was seriously injured when he allegedly tried to escape police by jumping off the highway and grabbing onto a tree, Thomason said. He fell to the ground below and suffered a serious injury.
That protester was taken to a local hospital for treatment and is expected to survive.
Most of the protesters on the highway were processed by Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputies on the Jackson Street off-ramp. They were then bused to the Santa Rita and North County jails.
Thomason said the protesters were arrested for various offenses including failure to disperse, adding that they posed a great risk to themselves and commuters as they forced numerous vehicles to come to sudden stops.
"We're just lucky that no one was killed," Thomason said.
He said there were no reports of violence or vandalism in connection with today's rallies.
Most of those arrested were among the estimated 2,000 people who attended a rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza near 14th Street and Broadway in an effort to end cuts to education. That rally ended at 4 p.m.
Many of the demonstrators headed to San Francisco for an evening rally there and others went home.
However, others marched through downtown streets and ended up in front of the office of University of California President Mark Yudof on Franklin Street between 11th and 12th streets.
Oakland police blocked off several streets in the area, creating a traffic jams and forcing drivers and pedestrians to take alternate routes.
Several pedestrians were upset at being redirected and yelled at police officers.
One of the protesters outside Yudof's office carried a sign that said, "Chop From The Top."