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.
  • C*HarrisTHEboss

    “I’m mad at the powers that be” – I KNOW!!! – lets all go block the bridge and piss off all the hardworking middle class people that are just trying to get home after a long day and have a beer. You liberals are effing stupid – and delusion if you think these actions are altruistic.

    I award you 68 buffoons no points – and may you all get indigestion.

  • mogden

    What a bunch of entitled, privileged, and selfish bodily orifices.

  • commonsense

    MLK is probably rolling in his grave. what the hell is standing on the bridge and impeding people’s lives going to accomplish? also doubt MLK would be pro-Palestine. These students just want the college experience of being little activists and are blinded by the media. FYI hands up never happened…

  • fubar

    Spoiled welfare kids with duped white stoogies. Go to East PA and preach your crap to the Samoan and Tongan gangs then call the police for HELP!

  • Disappointed senior

    Thank you to all the commenters who are pointing out the hypocrisy of equating the Black Lives Matter movement with calls for divestment from Israeli companies operating in the Palestinian territories. If you are really on the side of human rights, you will defend Israel. Despite some of its inconsistent policies (name a democratic nation that doesn’t have them), Israel VALUES LIFE and does its best to PROTECT EVERYONE, including its large Arab and Palestinian minority populations. I was quite proud of the on-campus marches last quarter and encouraged my friends to participate. But this group of Stanford students has officially lost my support.

    Also, although it doesn’t come as a surprise, this article is so poorly written and painfully partial to the protesters’ cause. Why can’t we get some simple, objective reporting from the Daily?

  • Taylor Russell

    Very. Well. Said.

    People are so afraid to come out and say, “Mike Brown was a piece of shit punk whose poor choices resulted in his death”.

    Same with Oscar Grant. He was a piece of shit drug dealer with two felony cocaine and assault weapons charges. Had he not gotten in a fight that night, not been wasted in public, not tried to run away and resist arrest after he was already detained, he’d be alive today. But NO, people try to make it a black thing…. HIS DEATH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS RACE! HE WAS A FUCKING MORON!

  • WillingToChangeMind

    Hi Eric,

    While I don’t agree with the language of the OP, I find myself agreeing with his sentiments.

    You’re right in that protests aren’t about comfort – but to me, they are about sharing an injustice, teaching others, and hopefully persuading the community to join in your point of view. My newsfeed on facebook has been bombarded with Stanford students applauding each other for the courage of protesting on the bridge. But what about the community outside of the Stanford bubble? What about the parents who commute daily an hour across the bridge to get to-and-from work? This was supposed to be a “weekend” protest – but a vast majority of peers I know in the workforce did not have a three-day-weekend. And this protest particularly affected that group of people who did have to go to work.

    All this is to say that I don’t see how stopping traffic helps with what I’d consider as an ulterior motive of educating others and eventually changing the “status quo” – especially when it seems that this protest only damaged or weakened people’s opinions on “black lives matter”.

    Yes, this is the internet. But I’m open to hear your thoughts and understanding why this medium was chosen.

    Thank you,
    Stanford Alum

  • airforceaggie

    actually, he did not. he would typically walk on the side of the bridges to allow for other traffic to pass.

  • airforceaggie

    That is so incredibly naïve. You fail to take into account that many of these deaths are of individuals with long criminal histories. If they had been productive citizens and not broken the law, they would be alive now. You need to hold them to account for their actions. Finally, you have never been in a life or death situation. It is not an ivory tower where people are thinking clearly. It is a brutal, violent moment where your blood is up and someone is trying to kill you. When you are in that situation, then let us see how well you do in incapacitating the other individual.

  • Eusebius

    Actually you don’t have the right to protest if you’re blocking traffic. So they weren’t even within their rights.

  • Kali

    Your points are buried under way too heaping a helping of tedious condescension and mansplaining.

  • S. O’Brien

    Agree. I hope the students and/or their parents are required to pay for all the CHP on the bridge.

  • Bob

    Man! Protesting is soooo cool! All the popular kids are doing it!! Lol.

  • Bob

    Ugh! Your odoriferous vagsplaining is knocking people out! Please comment with your hirsute legs in very, very close proximity to each other.

  • Carolyn Jing

    Is there anyone more obnoxious and publicity seeking than Kristin Davis Bailey? He seeks to promote himself and his morally vapid causes.

  • Hankster

    Nice way to honor M L K. Too bad they can’t hold you for more than 48 hours. You have stooped to the level of Ferguson.

  • airforceaggie

    You only say that because you have nothing to back yourself with. Come back when you have some life experience or facts.

  • Zarathustra

    Wow. What an outrageous misappropriation of Nietzsche.

  • Eric

    Dear WillingToChangeMind,

    I should preface by saying that although I have been at previous protests and demonstrations, I was not present at the recent demonstration at the bridge. I should add that I had nothing to do with the planning of the recent protest, and cannot give the opinions of the people involved because although I know many of them, I cannot write for them.

    There are many different forms of protest, demonstration, and civil disobedience that are used to achieve certain goals. In the same movement, activists will employ many of these types of actions in a combined effort. I wrote a paper on specific types of protest and their end goals, but I will not be presenting the entire paper here, just some of the ideas, and what I believe this action was.

    This demonstration was a Shut-Down. Based upon my research and some personal experience, a Shut-Down is a type of demonstration meant to rally the base, rather than attempt to appeal to the opposing side whom would take plenty of energy to bring to your side of the cause, or attempt to persuade the middle, who require a different type of action altogether. Rallying the base should be the first thing that a successful campaign does, as it builds the membership up for the busier actions that will be necessary later.

    I would disagree with the notion that this was a “weekend” protest. The date was chosen for its symbolism, as can be seen by the hashtag #ReclaimMLK. Over the last few decades, people have tried to rebrand MLK’s legacy to fit their own views. For example, often conservatives will use the line “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” to claim that King would oppose racially-based affirmative action. As a King researcher for a couple of years now, I can say with certainty that that notion is very, very false, as can be seen by Southern Christian Leadership Conference programs designed to help put Blacks into more worthwhile positions. Others have honestly just wanted to use the federal holiday as an actual holiday, which the demonstrators believe to be an affront to King’s legacy – based upon his later years in life, I agree.

    You’re not wrong – this demonstration was very obviously not meant to be part of the education campaign. That is further down the line. It appears to me that media attention was indeed the end goal, in which case it succeeded. Keep in mind that media attention was an integral part of King’s major campaigns – the Birmingham campaign could not have had such an impact if the images of police brutality had not been spread around the world. If you see or have seen the movie Selma, you’ll have an idea of what is meant here.

    Disruption was an important aspect of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. And disruption was held back then by many to be harmful. Again, I recommend reading the entire Letter from a Birmingham Jail to understand why disruption is a necessary aspect. I also recommend reading A Call for Unity to see a group of men who criticized King in Birmingham, anti-segregationist men at that who did not like the protests and demonstrations.

    Eric, Stanford Student

  • Eric

    Dear airforceaggie,

    Firstly, if you actually are in the Air Force, thank you for your service to our country. And if you actually are an Aggie, Manziel was quite impressive in that game against ‘Bama a couple years back. Me and the other ‘Bama fans applaud him.

    And now, onto my main point.

    I am sorry that the only experiences you seem to have with Blacks in America has been those who have fallen for stereotypes of Asians. As you say it, I would like you to remember that as many Blacks have apparently stereotyped you and your family, many Asians have stereotyped me and mine. I argue that bigotry is learned, not innate. If all you know of the other group are media depictions or stereotypes, and have no other interaction with members of that other group, there is little chance you will view them favorably.

    As for Michael Brown, I’m just going to say that he was the same height as Darren Wilson and 80 lbs heavier, and that Grand Juries rarely indict police compared to the general population. You’ve got you’re view of that situation based on facts presented to you, I’ve got mine based upon those very same facts.


  • Mike

    My concerns exactly, what if it were your family member or friend needing quick medical attention, or other emergency service. Blocking roadways, and bridges are not always just a discomfort to others, it could be a matter of life or death, but I guess that’s ok as long as these people get their message out about the sanctity of innocent human life.

  • airforceaggie

    I agree that bigotry is a learned response. And no, I don’t believe all blacks are bigots. One of my family is married to a black woman and I think the world of her. as MLK said, I don’t judge a person by their color, but by the content of their character. What I do get angered by is the perception that blacks are the only minority. The latest commentary on the Oscars is a case in point. They are all bemoaning that there are no black Oscar nominees, yet there is no mention of the virtual shut out Hollywood has had for Asian actors. We are either action heroes or the nerdy geek in the background. In Romeo Must Die, Jet Li couldn’t even get a kiss, but just a simple hug. I guess, in the end, what I am mad about is the hypocrisy of the Civil Rights movement. Instead of trying to make this a better world for all, they are only seeking to make a better world for Blacks. To me, that makes them no better then the Klan. Worse, because they are hypocrites.
    As for the screen name, yes, I went to Texas A&M. And the AF portion is due to my 23 years in both the active duty and reserve components of the AF.

  • skullbreathe

    “All Lives Matter”

  • skullbreathe

    This generation of at home living “radicals” is pathetic. Commenters are correct; this juvenile blockade of highways does nothing for the cause but angers those likely in some ways sympathetic to making sure the communication between the races improves.

  • Stephen H.

    I see plenty of respect for the rights of others here. In fact, that seems to be precisely what motivated these protestors. It’s the disorder of police brutality and the deprivation of the rights of the minorities that “violate the Fundamental Standard.”

  • Yes it does

    Ah, the old “I know you are but what am I?!” trick. Perfectly executed mental Jiujitsu there, Stephen! The “disorder” of police brutality…very well done! You almost had me there, thinking that intentionally obstructing traffic on a major Bay Area bridge was aimed at increasing order in society. Good thing I was on guard for Sophists like you, or I surely would have been fooled!

  • willingtochange

    Thank you Eric. I really appreciate the response. As a recent Stanford grad, I’ve been really grappling with the protests and movements in blacklivesmatter, but as someone in the workforce, I’ve definitely witnessed the frustration with disruption. I agree that this medium definitely achieved the goal of casting a wide net for attention and will be looking into the resources you suggested.

    Best wishes,
    Stanford alum

  • D

    Martin Luther King addressed many of these concerns about inconvenience, order (as in Stanford’s Fundamental Standard), means, etc in Letter from Birmingham Jail: “I have
    almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his
    stride toward
    freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white
    moderate, who is
    more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence
    of tension
    to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with
    you in the goal
    you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically
    believes he can
    set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and
    constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding
    people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill
    Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

  • Devney

    If you’re interested in learning more about the references to “racism, militarism and materialism” and “global oppression” I invite you to investigate what Martin Luther King had to say about that. Before he was killed, MLK was planning a poor people’s movement of civil disobedience targeting Washington, connecting it with movements around the world. http://www.scribd.com/doc/40096819/The-Trumpet-of-Conscience-by-Martin-Luther-King-Jr

  • fuggetaboudit

    They caused accidents. How is that respect for rights of others? Let them protest peacefully, not all over a public freeway.

  • fuggetaboudit

    There were accidents. Cause one death with your protests and now the blood is on your hands.

  • Obel

    These Stanford students protest the fact that 300 blacks are killed by police each year, not all of which were questionable. Sad as it is, why don’t they also protest the fact that each year, 8,370 blacks are killed by blacks (according to politifact.com) As for the Palestinian connection (which is not related!) what then of ISIS (Islamofacism) which has killed thousands of women, children, minorities, journalists and people who refused to convert to Islam in one year.

  • Kali

    Stop. You’re killing me with your adorable debating “skills”.

  • Kali

    Oh look another misogynist who is confused about genders & who thinks his pathetic bleating is the epitome of humor.

  • airforceaggie

    As opposed to someone who just throws insults versus facts? If you don’t like what I say, then why don’t you actually challenge the facts? As I stated before, come back when you actually have some life experience.

  • airforceaggie

    oh puhleaze. spare us the wheat colored jeans militant feminist act. It is obvious that you are a student and you are just acting out. You want to be different, but you are actually a conformist because you want to “rebel” like the rest of your friends. Try appreciating the hard work it took for your parents to afford to send you to one of the best schools in the nation. Try appreciating how selfish and self-absorbed it was to block traffic. Just like occupy Wall Street, you only hurt the little people. Do you naively think you changed anything? All you did was to piss off people who are just going home from earning an honest wage. It was less about the issues and more about the protestors doing a stunt to show off.

  • Quirk

    Thank you for writing all this and the comment above.

  • Quirk

    Wow, an unintended compliment to the protestors, from an especially vindictive hater! I agree in a way: the solidarity demonstrated by this is amazing and much needed. Because of people like you, and anyone who looks down on Ferguson and backs the police and prisons.

  • Quirk

    Wow. Are you seriously intentionally playing on racism against Black mothers? I didn’t get it at first why you mangled her name like that, but it’s pretty clear signal, you are horrible, you make me sick, and intentional or not, you need to shut the fuck up.

  • Hankster

    Hater of what?
    I lived in Ferguson when it was a nice safe town. I know why it is not a nice and safe town now. Bet you can guess why too. I won’t comment on the police and prisons. I would be stooping to your level.

  • Bob

    Oh look, another misandrist who doesn’t know comedy. I so not believe my bleating is the epitome of humor. You see humor, much like gender, is a spectrum and my bleating is in the upper quartile but not quite the epitome of the humor spectrum. Now go get even more gross looking you crazy feminista. 😉

  • Dick H

    If these cock suckers think this is a way of having me see things from their position they are exactly wrong. I will VOTE just the opposite as these selfish pricks just to piss them off even more.

  • Whoa Mule

    Actually, not true. National Guard was there to control traffic and protect demonstrators.