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What's next for those arrested at Bay Area protests

One day after protesters brought traffic to a halt on both sides of the Bay for hours, the question many are asking is what, if anything, will they be charged with?

According to the California Highway Patrol, a total of 38 people were arrested in three different protests. Twenty-six of them, who were arrested on the Golden Gate Bridge, spent the night in jail. But now, the San Francisco district attorney says her office will need to do more investigating to determine what happens next.

Protest organizers say the simultaneous protests on the bridge and Interstate-880 in Oakland Monday were intended to coincide with Tax Day and create maximum impact and awareness.

They oppose the United States continued support for Israel in the ongoing battle with Hamas in Gaza and want leaders to put more pressure on Isreal to accept a ceasefire.

On Tuesday, the DA said the 26 people arrested will face charges, but wants more information from the CHP before deciding on the most serious felony charge of conspiracy. She said she wants investigators to compile video and other elements to make sure the charge sticks.      

“We need to be able to make sure that we can pinpoint who was doing what. When it comes to a conspiracy that means people are working in concert, that they are planning to commit a crime together,” said San Francisco DA Brooke Jenkins.

What that means is that for now, everyone arrested Monday will be released.

Supporters of those who spent the night in jail rallied for them to be released at the San Francisco Main Jail Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the group said the CHP overcharged them at the time of the arrest.  

“We believe that the California Highway Patrol is using to keep them overnight. These type of charges have not happened since the 1980s against protestors,” said Bridget, a protest supporter.

The CHP has released pictures and video showing just how far protestors went to prevent officers from removing them. Including video of a barrel, filled with concrete and re-bar, that officers had to jackhammer open on I-880 in the East Bay.

Video shows a protester refusing to let go of the re-bar even after it’s been cut.

The CHP also shared a photo showing how protestors used pipes to link themselves to each other, and fellow participants who sat in cars on the Golden Gate Bridge.

That caught the attention of Governor Gavin Newsom who said he’s a supporter of political expression, but believes Monday’s demonstrations went too far.  

“I think there’s a better way of expressing it, than denying people the ability to get to work, someone in an emergency that can’t get to their destination. I don’t think that’s helpful,” he said.

Five cars were also towed from the Golden Gate Bridge Monday. The DA says she’s not sure if they will remain impounded as evidence since demonstrators were chained to them.

Jenkins is also asking the CHP to compile more information on false imprisonment charges that were filed.

She’s asking bystanders who were stuck on the Golden Gate Bridge during the protest to contact the California Highway Patrol office in Marin and file a police report.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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