SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Thousands of protesters took to the downtown streets of San Francisco and Oakland on Saturday to join in a national demonstration of police brutality.

Several hundred people marched up San Francisco’s Market Street from the waterfront to City Hall. The demonstrators briefly lay down on the street in the middle of the city’s shopping district for a so-called die-in. Police cordoned off nearby Union Square, barring entry out of concern that a plan was underfoot to topple the city’s giant Christmas tree. No attempt was made on the tree or any violence reported in San Francisco or Oakland.

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A similar amount of demonstrators also marched through the heart of downtown Oakland.

Protesters on both sides of the San Francisco Bay carried signs that read “black lives matter” and chanted slogans and songs about opposing police brutality.

Several other cities across the United States experienced demonstrations Saturday.

Earlier in the day, police took down effigies of three black victims of lynching that were hung on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley Saturday morning.

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Investigators believe the cardboard cutouts of life-sized photographs of lynching victims were connected to a smaller protest in Berkeley at noon. Police don’t know the motive or who hanged the effigies and are investigating.

“These images are very upsetting,” said campus spokeswoman Claire Holmes.

Organizers of the Berkeley protest said they were unaware of who hanged the effigies too.

“We hope that it’s someone who wanted to bring attention to the issue,” said Spencer Pritchard, 21, a UC Berkeley student and an organizer of the Berkeley protest, which was peaceful and attended by about 200 people. Many of the Berkeley protesters joined the Oakland demonstration.

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