MOSCOW, December 7 (Sputnik) —Police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades to break up an evening-long protest in Berkeley, California.
But after more than five hours of marching and chanting, the rally became violent with bottles being thrown and windows smashed.
About 400 protesters and students found themselves squared off against hundreds of Bay Area police gathered at the intersection of Telegraph Avenue and Durant Street.
After warning vocal but mostly non-violent protesters, officers fired tear gas sending people fleeing in panic and pain.
"A small portion of protesters have been violent. They started throwing rocks and other projectiles at our officers," CNN quoted Jennifer Coats, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department, as saying on Sunday.
According to the news channel, she added that several law enforcement officers suffered minor injuries as a result of the violence which erupted.
Minutes before the police dispersed the crowd at about 10:30, several venues turned out their audiences downtown, SFGate news website reports on Sunday.
The concertgoers waiting to pay in a nearby garage were enveloped in a cloud of tear gas, sending them running into elevators.
“I’m not sure that’s necessary,” the website quotes one of the theater goers, Elaine Dunlap, 74, as saying. “I think people have a right to protest, certainly for an issue as big as this.”
The protest was staged over a grand jury decision not to bring charges against white officer Daniel Pantaleo who put Eric Garner, an African American, in a chokehold resulting in Garner's death back in July.
The decision was similar to last week's Missouri grand jury verdict not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old African American Michael Brown in Ferguson in August.