About 300 people protesting the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer temporarily shut down a five-lane section of a highway in San Jose, California, on Friday.

Video footage from KGO-TV showed vehicles at a virtual standstill on the southbound lanes of US101 before rush hour during a pandemic that has kept many Californians home. Some cars were passing on a shoulder.

It came a day after nine people were arrested after rocks were thrown at businesses, vehicles and officers during a Southern California protest stemming from the death of George Floyd, authorities said. Small demonstrations occurred elsewhere throughout California and around the nation.

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The violence erupted Thursday night (local time) in the city of Fontana, about 80km east of Los Angeles as about 100 people moved up and down a local thoroughfare, a police statement said.

An unlawful assembly was declared around 9pm, and the crowd was ordered to disperse. But some continued to block traffic and throw rocks at officers, police said. It took about an hour to disperse the demonstrators.

Damage included broken windows at City Hall.

Democratic Representative Norma Torres, Fontana mayor Acquanetta Warren and San Bernardino County supervisors condemned the violence and called it counterproductive.

Fontana, California, police and other law enforcement agencies work to restore order after a protest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
Fontana, California, police and other law enforcement agencies work to restore order after a protest over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

"Everyone involved has a right to be angry. But channelling that anger to destroy property only harms our own hard-working community members," Torres said.

Warren had attended the largely peaceful protest. In a statement, she said the crowd "got hijacked by people who decided to throw rocks at innocent drivers and police officers who were simply doing their jobs".

In San Jose, protesters marched from City Hall through downtown before moving to the highway. Some protesters surrounded vehicles stopped as part of the march. Some were holding signs seeking justice for Floyd; others said "Black Lives Matter".

California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Alicia Moreno told KGO-TV officers planned to escort protesters off the highway, given the potential for injury. Protesters started leaving the highway peacefully around 4pm.


Elsewhere, demonstrators gathered outside police headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. But there was no repeat of the Wednesday evening action in which protesters blocked traffic on a freeway and attacked two California Highway Patrol cruisers, smashing windows.

Another group marched from police headquarters in suburban Santa Monica to an LAPD station in adjacent Venice.

In Minnesota, demonstrators torched a Minneapolis police station in protest of the death of George Floyd, who was recorded on video pleading for air as an officer knelt on his neck.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case Friday.