May Day protest in Oakland takes a violent turn, leading to vandalism. The protesters were united under the banner “Oakland to Baltimore” and they wanted to support their peers from Baltimore and make a protest of their own against police brutality, after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died while in police custody from an extensive spinal injury.
Friday’s protest was initially a peaceful one,but as people were walking towards the Oakland police headquarters, they came across police, who were ready to combat a riot. It was when police stopped the protesters at 7th and Broadway that things started turning sour.
That was the moment when a handful of protesters turned to vandalism to express their feelings and started smashing the windows of several local businesses and of cars on the streets. Some of them even appealed to arson in order to make their voices heard, and lit some cars on fire.
The number of arrests made is not clear at the moment, but at least one person is known to have ended up in police custody after yesterday’s night events.
Among the businesses that ended up with broken windows were Wells Fargo Bank and Citibank, that have been the victims of previous protests along the years.
Opinions on last night’s events are obviously mixed. For instance KFC employee Shonda Roberts told ABC7 News in an interview: “Now this is affecting me because this is my job. I work here. I live right up the street. This is my community. So it hurts my feelings that we have people walking around here this ignorant.”.
Melissa Crosby, one of the protesters, explained how she views the situation. “I see it like a game of chess and if one day we can throw rocks at police, right or wrong, however you feel about it, then that’s a day we took a stand. And that, in my mind, to some extent, is a win against the system,” she said.
Despite extensive efforts made to stop the violence, it seems that some people still feel that there is need for it in order to draw attention to pressing matters like police brutality.
May Day protest in Oakland takes a violent turn Friday evening after an entire day of peaceful protests against police brutality, capitalism and the garment industry and for larger wages and protections against deportations for immigrants.
Image Source: cdn.abclocal.go.com