DSC_0838.JPGHundreds of people have gathered in downtown Oakland to protest the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial. Police have blocked off the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street as well as several nearby intersections.

The protest appears to be calm. People are gathered on Broadway between 12th Street and 14th Street, and a band was playing in the middle of the street shortly before 6:30 p.m.

There is a large presence of Oakland police officers in riot gear, who are being assisted by officers from other agencies, including a large contingent of California Highway Patrol officers.

A 20-year-old Oakland man who was watching the rally from a distance said Mehserle should have been convicted of murder instead of involuntary manslaughter.

The man, who declined to give his name, said, “He should have gotten at least 25 years to life for shooting somebody.”

A 19-year-old Oakland man who was with him said Mehserle “should have gotten life in prison.”

He said, “my friend’s 15-year-old cousin got life for murder, so why shouldn’t Mehserle get life?”

“People are very upset about this,” the man said.

A witness reported seeing police use tear gas on protesters who were throwing objects at a police car several blocks south of the main protest at 14th Street and Broadway.

Riot police descended on the area after people threw objects at the car, which apparently ran over a protester’s foot, according to the witness.

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