Widgets Magazine

Students shut down San Mateo-Hayward bridge; 68 people arrested, 11 jailed

Monday afternoon, Stanford students and community members shut down the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge in support of the Ferguson Action national demands, which include the demilitarization of local law enforcement and the repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community-based alternatives to incarceration.

According to Silicon Shut Down’s Twitter feed, 68 people were arrested in total. According to an email sent out to the Stanford community, 57 people were released and 11 have been sent to jail.

During the demonstration, participants engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience and attempted to block the westbound side of the bridge for 28 minutes to symbolize the fact that every 28 hours, a black person is killed by a police officer or vigilante, stated a press release from Silicon Shut Down, a collective of students that “organize in West Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley against state-sanctioned violence (police brutality) and other forms of systemic oppression,” according to their website.

Approximately 70 demonstrators initially assembled on Wilbur Field, where they conducted preparations for the bridge shutdown. After sorting out transportation arrangements, the demonstrators traveled in several cars to Southgate Park in Hayward, where final preparations were conducted.

While the demonstrators were at the park, a Hayward Police officer pulled up in a squad car and inquired about the intentions of the protesters. The police officer was looking into a concern that the large group of people was planning on committing a burglary. After the police officer was persuaded that this was not the case, the officer asked if a protest was going to happen in Hayward. Demonstrators told the police officer that this was not the case, which was a true statement because the protest occurred on the San Mateo County side of the San Mateo Bridge.

After the final staging for the protest was complete, the demonstrators drove to the San Mateo Bridge. The demonstrators stopped traffic close to the highest point in the span. When cars with more demonstrators got stuck in the suddenly building traffic, the demonstrators (except designated drivers) got out of the cars and ran up to the front of the traffic jam to join their fellow demonstrators. The demonstrators who were blocking traffic formed a line and held a number of signs as they chanted slogans.

A few yards behind the demonstrators was a line of heavily equipped California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers. Although a few officers were to the east of the demonstrators, the bulk of the officers were on the western side of the line. The CHP promptly charged the line of demonstrators and arrested them all.

The most obvious immediate reactions among the drivers who were stuck in traffic were puzzlement and anger. One man complained that the protest was lengthening a commute that was already an hour each way.

A few minutes after the CHP charged the demonstrators, they successfully cleared them off to the side of the road. The demonstrators continued to chant as they were sitting in CHP custody. The CHP initially opened up one lane to allow the pent-up traffic to clear. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Mateo Bridge was at least briefly closed to traffic.

According to protest participant Kristian Davis Bailey ’14, 11 protesters, 10 of whom were female, were put in jail while the rest were offered the option of being cited and released.

According to Bailey, the citations some protesters were issued included obstruction of entry on a public land, obstructing people’s moment and creating a public nuisance. In an effort to help collect funds for bail, Silicon Shut Down organizers set up a Venmo account for those protesters still in jail.

When asked why he participated in the protest, Bailey said, “I realized that it was time to put my body on the line and use my privilege as a Stanford student to elevate the issues of Black Lives Matter.”

Protest participant Michaela Ben Izzy ’18 said, “I’m really proud of everyone who was out there today.”

Additionally, during the demonstration, students held banners calling attention to the violence committed against black communities as well as the Palestinian and Mexican flags as an act of public solidarity with victims of state-sponsored and U.S.-sponsored violence in Mexico and Palestine.

“Combating the triplets of racism, militarism and materialism was one of the biggest legacies King left us,” said Bailey in a public statement. “We proudly carry the Palestinian flag as we call on Stanford to divest from human rights violations in the occupation and related state violence in the U.S. The recent trip of Black Lives Matter and Ferguson representatives to Palestine signifies these movements are coming together on a global scale.”

Protesters chose to inconvenience the weekend commute in order to remind Silicon Valley that “it can’t ignore oppression in the midst of its own comfort.”

“We chose to inconvenience the weekend commute because the status quo is deadly to the black and brown peoples of this country and can no longer be tolerated,” said participant Maria Diaz ’17. “We are honoring MLK’s legacy by forcefully reminding Silicon Valley that, decades after Martin Luther King, black lives, and brown lives, and the lives of all oppressed people, still matter.”

In the past, Silicon Shut Down has formed demonstrations last Thanksgiving, reacting to the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown August last year, as well as in December, reacting to the decision not to prosecute a New York police officer in the death of unarmed black man Eric Garner.

In a statement to The Daily, University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said, “We respect our students’ right to express themselves in peaceful protest. But we expect them to understand the consequences of protests that violate the law or the rights of others.”

Catherine Zaw contributed to this report.

Contact Caleb Smith at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.


This post has been updated.

About Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith '17 is a Desk Editor from Oakland, California and is majoring in public policy. Outside the Daily, Caleb is Director of news at KZSU Stanford, the campus radio station. Have a tip or suggestion? Please contact him at caleb17 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Catherine Zaw

Catherine Zaw was formerly the Managing Editor of News for Vol. 245 and Vol. 246. To contact her, please email czaw13@gmail.com.
  • Stef

    Amazing. Very proud of you guys

  • Taylor Russell

    “Every 28 hours a Black person is killed by a police officer…”

    Well, that would make sense since black people, per capita, commit crimes at a rate of 440% times that of white people.

    The problem isn’t the police. We should be focused on creating better opportunities for black people so they don’t have to resort to crime as it’s unfortunately the only option for many.

  • Student

    Funny way to honor MLK considering he was a Zionist.

  • Glenn

    Wow. “Palenstinian” and “human rights in the same sentence. What a joke! If you want your message taken seriously and not be seen as a bunch of ignorant sheep, don’t carry the flag of a terrorist state of thugs who will take your life (white or black) if they feel the slightest urge.
    And thanks for screwing up the commute of the 99%.

  • Junior

    Sad to see the Black rights movement in America falsely equated with the goal of Palestinian statehood. We can do better

  • Lexie Marin

    What an ignorant comment. Considering the number of women and children killed by Israel in the past 12 months, who are the real terrorists? And no, massacring innocent people is not “self-defense.”

    It’s amazing that people are willing to excuse genocide in defense of Israel. Thankfully, other individuals and groups are seeing the light. The Bill Gates foundation has started to divest and other universities have as well. I can only hope Stanford will do the same one day soon.

  • Billy

    You’re failing to miss a huge point, the end result of interactions between someone who just committed a crime and a police officer should not be death, especially in this day and age, and especially not every 28 hours. So yes in part the problem is the police, maybe not on an individual basis, but in how they conduct an arrest and deal with resistance. There are so many ways to incapacitate someone that death should very rarely be the result, certainly not taking place every 28 hours

  • Asok Asus

    This is simple to fix: new state laws specifying mandatory minimum state prison sentences of 2-3 years without parole for first time offenders convicted of deliberately obstructing commerce and triple fines equal to estimated economic and personal losses, with police forces being REQUIRED to IMMEDIATELY arrest any and all attempting such obstruction.

  • ak94

    Some thoughts from the man of the hour:
    “Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land almost can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy”

    -Matin Luther King, May 1968

    While I respect the choice of civil disobedience to talk about pressing issues, using MLK’s name to defend calling for divestment from Israel is an affront to his personal beliefs and legacy.

  • Lexie Marin

    If you’re going to quote MLK, you should be more familiar with his views. MLK may have supported an Israeli state but given his opinions on violence, I sincerely doubt that he would agree with Israel’s current methods.

  • Friedrich N.

    “For one should not overlook this fact: the strong are as naturally inclined to separate as the weak are to congregate; if the former unite together, it is only with the aim of an aggressive collective action and collective satisfaction of their will to power, and with much resistance from the individual conscience; the latter, on the contrary, enjoy precisely this coming together—their instinct is just as much satisfied by this as the instinct of the born ‘masters’ (that is, the solitary, beast-of-prey species of man) is fundamentally irritated and disquieted by organization.” -FN

    Psst, blacks, gays, Palestinians, Mexicans…your weakness is showing.

  • Bob

    Embarrassing. Reflects very poorly on the university.

  • Derka Derka

    “Who are the real terrorists?”

    I’m pretty sure Hezbollah would be insulted by you even asking that.

  • Slow down you Michael Browns!

    What if they were tryna bring a black guy to the hospital because he got shot by a cracker police officer? U ever think of that?

  • ^ why women shouldn’t post

    Oh thanks for clarifying… I had no idea that MLK didn’t support violence?


  • robweb

    This “demonstration” is just a cry for attention. Tweeting “Journalists being arrested” ascribes too much gravity to privileged students trying to snag selfies for their new profile pic…

  • JoseKhanYohsi

    It is time to arm the police forces in the same manner as they do the US armed forces overseas when dealing with terrorist and use the weapons accordingingly

  • Mysia And-her-son

    Mysia white person and ruuuuuun! This aint fo youuuuuuuu!

  • Yall jus a buncha gold iggers
  • NWBL

    These Stanford students may be well-read but apparently not very intelligent.

  • NWBL

    Terrorist groups court black groups & any color student groups to have more angry-at-America allies. Dangerous situation.

  • Forest Gump

    Better not take the bridge if youre tryna ruuuun

  • NWBL

    Dr. King wanted people to be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. Do you really think he would have approved of the content of Michael Brown’s character?

  • Protest your cause at the expense of people who are trying to go from point A to point B to visit family, go home, friends, or enjoy their day.

    How inconsiderate and pathetic. Go protest at a park, stop getting in the way of people’s lives. If anything, they’re going to hate you and your cause. Some will associate your protest’s “good cause” with negative feelings.

    Don’t be a dumb ass… never mind too late.

  • Dave

    Even if police *only* killed when criminals used lethal force against officers, the percentage of deaths would remain roughly the same. The black population constitutes 14.1% of the population and 35 to 40% of people killed by police. That may seem like a disproportionate number of black deaths, but only if one assumes that all races use lethal force against officers at the same rate. Looking at the demographics of people criminally killing police officers shows that black offenders constitute about 37% of officer killings – pretty much exactly commensurate with the percentage of black people killed by officers.

    The 37% was obtained by averaging the FBI’s records over from 2011, 2012, and 2013 (2014 isn’t published yet) here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka

    Click on a year, then looking under “Officers Feloniously Killed” shows the racial makeup of criminals killing officers.

  • Bobo


  • Skeptic

    You guys are fighting a noble fight… Black lives matter, and the issues of police brutality and mass incarceration are major issues.
    But, increasingly this is getting lost in a sea of jargon and clumsy leftist rhetoric about global oppression. “Triplets of racism militarism and materialism.” !?!? Racial oppression, economic oppression and oppression across the globe.
    The underlying facts you highlight are true. Blacks are disproportionate victims of police violence. US policies fuel violence in Mexico. Israeli policy discriminates against and disenfranchises the Palestinians. But silicon shutdown and its rhetoric equates everything under one inchoate and jargon filled banner of global oppression. The underlying issues lose their meaning. Instead, the BLM and BDSM and other movements become amalgamated in a nonsensical jargon of leftism and activism. This jargon and muddle of rhetoric is a disservice to the very real issues that are motivating you all to protest. The jargon of your movement, as exemplified sounds naive, confusing, and silly. I would like to join you–I believe in much of what you are fighting for. But the words you use, and the actions you take, appear to be noise rather than real change. Did you guys vote or campaign in the midterm elections (after which we have the reactionary arch-conservative Republican Party the largest congressional majority in history) ? Can you mobilize a broad cross-societal coalition (ie more than just 100 activist stanford students) to effect change through the political and legislative process? Or do you just want to make noise and get tagged on facebook in protest pictures? Successful activism requires buy in from a large community, not just the passionate and informed, but also the ignorant, apathetic and ambivalent. Design and movement and speak in a way so that you can achieve this. Then maybe there will be lasting success.
    *ps sorry for the nastiness I’m embracing the snarky anonymous provocative internet commenter role

  • TheCardinalRules

    I hope the school takes disciplinary action against every one of these morons who have embarassed the University. I wonder if the Fundamental Standard applies here?

  • airforceaggie

    Young lady, you have no clue on what war is about. Israel goes above and beyond to try to prevent civilian casualties. If you want to point fingers, why don’t you ask the Palestinians why they put command centers in schools and hospitals? Why don’t you bemoan the countless Jewish Sabras murdered over the past century by Arab terrorists? The Sabras have just as much of a right to live there as the Palestinians. Why don’t you ask the Palestinians about the thousands killed by their suicide bombs. Young lady, you know nothing of genocide. I have been to war and I have seen genocide up close. You know nothing.

  • airforceaggie

    Interesting that you mention that black lives matter and you make no mention of other races. Interesting how pseudo liberals like you think the only minorities are black. Interesting how you don’t mention that during the Los Angeles riots, the groups targeted were not white, but Asian stores run by hard working first generation immigrants. Interesting how you don’t mention how blacks profile Asians as targets for muggings because they believe that all Asians are rich. Nothing like a little myopic hypocrisy, huh?

  • Boraxo1

    MLK believed in civil disobedience but he structured his protests to win hearts and minds. His followers rode buses and marched along highways. They did not block traffic on bridges and shut down subways. These actions (and the low numbers) betray his teachings and are unlikely to win supporters to your cause.
    Many Jews marched with MLK in the South and more than a few were murdered by racists. Don’t recall seeing any Palestinians on those marches. They were probably too busy making pipe bombs.

  • Yes it does

    The Fundamental Standard: “Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University.”

    Yes, the Fundamental Standard definitely applies here. Political message aside, these students are demonstrating no respect for “order” or “the rights of others” within–and particularly without–the University. People routinely get two quarter suspensions for DUI arrests. This set of students should be suspended for breaking the law, too. Of course, the hypocrisy at Stanford is astounding, and there’s NO WAY the University will take disciplinary action. Just makes you realize that the Fundamental Standard is itself a farce…

  • Eric

    There were many negative comments on this thread that I could have typed up a response to. But this one, in my opinion, contained one of the most dangerous ideas I have seen in the comments, because this idea takes seed every time a protest occurs.

    That idea is the idea that protests should be subordinate to comfort.

    Comfort is an ally of apathy. Those who are comfortable have little reason to protest their situation. They have little reason to be considerate of the notion that their own comfort may perhaps be based upon the discomfort of another.

    It is unfortunate for those in comfort, but a protest properly done must be in some way disruptive to the status quo. As such, there will undoubtedly be many people who come to hate the protester and their cause. There will undoubtedly be many negative feelings.

    But a protester goes into protest knowing fully well that there will be those that wish to harm them, those that hate them, those that will hate their cause, because their cause dared to go against the status quo that others had found comfortable.

    Consider, for example, why there were so many people that vehemently protested the ending of Jim Crowe, often to the point of brutal violence. What were the protesters trying to get? Equal citizenship rights and a defended right to vote. For some reason, White Citizen’s Councils, Klansmen, pretty much the entire government of Alabama, and others fought and killed many people who dared not strike back, who dared to go against the status quo that no matter what your place in society, if you were White you were still better somebody Black. By law. And there were many, many others who were “moderate,” who did not think it right that Blacks should be relegated to the bottom of society, but did little to quell the situation. And you know what? Those people, the most comfortable of all, who felt they had nothing to lose if Blacks gained more rights but at the same time didn’t care much that those rights were nonexistent, the “White Moderate,” were considered by King to be the most disappointing group of citizens in America when it came to Civil Rights. If you want proof, read The Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

    To conclude, sorry that you see these protests as too disruptive, or non-productive, or “unwise and untimely,” or in your words “inconsiderate and pathetic.” As this is the internet, I believe there is little I can do to change your mind, and their is probably little chance that you will actually read this. But it is important that I write it all the same.


  • Daniel

    My wife and I were partially responsible for delivering food to 40 homeless people in RWC, and made late by this “protest”. Your willingness to sacrifice other people’s comfort is not a virtue.

  • GnomeCoach

    I’ve been noticing that today’s youth seem to be far more motivated by things such as civil rights issues then by such things as the threat of near-term extinction due to anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD). Perhaps it is because they feel they have little chance of turning the climate issue around.

  • Sarah Roberts

    Many API folks, myself included, stand in solidarity with the Ferguson protestors. Though our communities experience marginalization differently, we too know what it is like to be systematically dehumanized and rendered invisible, and we can use this as a basis for empathy. Don’t forget that members of the Asian American Civil Rights Movement and the Black Civil Rights Movement inspired and supported one another in the 60s and 70s.

  • Man Bear Pig

    Way to bring another dumb cause to the table. As if we didn’t already have enough of those.

  • Black lives matter!


  • #Stanford69

    Too bad one more of them wasn’t arrested. Then we’d have the #Stanford69. Giggity!

  • Stanford Student

    Or you could google “Edmund Pettus Bridge” and realize he did indeed block traffic on bridges.


  • thougy

    they already are armed in the same manner as the US armed forces overseas. that is part of the problem.

  • Aren’t Straw Men Great?

    This is friggin’ embarrassing.

  • Chris King

    Spoiled little brats.

  • airforceaggie

    Unfortunately, the current generations of Blacks have forgotten that fact. In many of their eyes, civil rights only means civil rights for blacks. Repeatedly, over the years, I have personally seen the bigotry blacks have shown towards Asians. I experienced it with the contempt and hatred they showed to my parents as they ran a store. I saw it when I was in basic training in the military. I have also seen it as recently on a business trip when a black woman told me, “you Asians don’t need civil rights. You already rich. All of you are super smart.” To me, that strikes me as hypocrisy as they are just as bigoted as the whites they rail against. I guess so long as it is not their bowl of food, it is okay to discount others. Finally, I don’t stand with the 350 lb punk who brought on his own death with his poor choices. No one made him rob a store. Incidentally, the owner of the store was an Asian who the boy pushed out of the way and called anti-Asian slurs. No one made him walk down the middle of the street. No one made him resist arrest and assault a police officer. No one made him charge the police officer. Sorry, but I have been in combat and I know how hard it is to process a situation in 19 seconds and having someone large charge at you. You don’t aim for the leg or arm, you aim for center mass. You choose to assault a police officer, you pay the price. Sorry, but the kid brought on his own death. He wasn’t a gentle giant or a honor student with a bright future. He was an oversized punk, who paid the ultimate price for his poor choices.

  • Jimi Sadaki Kogura

    The intentions are there but the execution fails.

    When did being an annoying ever persuade someone to join the cause? How many of the drivers might have been late for work or what if there was an emergency vehicle that needed to get through the blocked bridge at that time?

    These demonstrators must realize they didn’t accomplish anything in reforming society for a better tomorrow.

  • Daniel

    Seriously? The police attacked the marchers on the bridge. The SCLC was not forming a flash mob in front of thousands of unsuspecting bystanders.

  • jim clifford

    Beware the 28-hours-killed-by-police claim. The Washington Post’s Michelle Lee debunked it in the Dec. 24 issue, which followed an earlier knockdown by PolitiFact

  • clippers8200

    This, this, this. The ridiculous rhetoric alienates many of the people who would otherwise support the movement.

  • S. O’Brien

    Monday was not part of my weekend. I was working and trying to get home. I sat on the bridge in my car for 1-1/2 hours. I don’t work in Silicon Valley and make oogles of money. While in my car, I didn’t know who was blocking my way home and couldn’t hear their chants. I wasted 4 gallons of gas while waiting.

    Yes, you have the right to protest. Obviously, you wanted media attention and you got it. I don’t have the luxury of being a Stanford student. Let me go home!

    Next time, protest on the San Mateo side of the bridge – there are places on both sides where we would all see you as you waved signs and hear your chants.

  • Jimi Sadaki Kogura

    These students would accomplish more in social justice by reading “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander (http://newjimcrow.com/) than blocking a bridge and taking selfies to show their friends how progressive they are.