Sacramento city and transit officials are warning commuters to expect heavy traffic congestion and possible street blockages caused by protesters in downtown Sacramento Wednesday afternoon.
As many as 600 people are expected to attend a demonstration in front the county District Attorney's office, 9th and G streets, starting at 3 p.m., demanding the DA take legal action against the two police officers who shot and killed unarmed 22-year-old Stephon Clark in his grandmother's backyard on March 18 in south Sacramento.
The demonstration, sponsored by the Sacramento Black Lives Matter chapter, also marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination in Memphis of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Several previous Clark demonstrations over the past two weeks turned into street marches in downtown and south Sacramento and at times clogged traffic, including stalling transit buses and light rail trains. In some instances, demonstrators confronted drivers. One street protester was injured Saturday night when she was struck by a sheriff's patrol vehicle.
During one march, protesters managed to get onto Interstate 5 during the commute hour, forcing temporarily closure of the freeway and stalling hundreds of vehicles. Since that incident, CHP and city police have placed lines of foot officers in front of ramps, blocking protesters from getting on the freeways, but also blocking drivers from using those ramps.
Some downtown offices have shut early during previous protest days.
In a message Wednesday, the city police reported, congestion is expected to be heaviest between 3-7 p.m. around I, J and K streets, all areas where previous protests took control of streets.
"Please plan your travel and commute accordingly," the police message said.
Police said officers will be on the streets, rerouting traffic, as necessary.
Earlier Wednesday, e-tran, the Elk Grove-based bus service, sent a warning to its riders about potential delays Wednesday afternoon and evening, but said it was not changing its routing or service times.
Sacramento Regional Transit has been forced to stop light rail service during recent protests also plans full service this afternoon, but has put together contingency plans, including additional buses.
"We will adjust service as needed to accommodate large crowds in the downtown area," spokeswoman Devra Selenis said. "With that in mind, we have a comprehensive communications plan in place that includes participation from our regional transit agency partners like e-tran and Yolobus using text messages, service alerts on our Alert SacRT app and social media platforms."