Riots Break Out in Bay Area Under Union, Occupy, Baltimore Influence

Ted S. Warren AP
Ted S. Warren AP

Following in the Bay area tradition of Occupy, social justice, and union operative campaigns led by leftist community organizers, hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of Oakland on May Day eve, echoing rioters in Baltimore with progressively violent and destructive actions.

Profanity against police rang out alongside reported chants of “Baltimore, we got your back!” The aggressive jubilation came after planned daytime marches on both sides of the bay. Those marches championed many leftist rally cries as well as the announcement that six police officers would be charged in the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.

As night fell and destruction surged, vehicles were set ablaze, and over 40 car windows were smashed at just one local auto dealership, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. The young crowd was racially mixed.

Sights were similar to those seen in Ferguson, Missouri over the exoneration of police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Shattered bank and store windows, burning trashcans, flying bottles, and burning vehicles marked the devastating protest path.

It was approximately 9 p.m., the Chronicle noted, when dozens of police in riot gear intervened in an attempt to quell the destructive rioters. An indeterminate number of arrests were made, according to a police spokesperson.

Protestors gathered by the hundreds earlier that day in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza and the Port of Oakland to City Hall under banners decrying police brutality and gentrification while claiming support for workers’ and illegal immigrants’ rights.

Protest organizer Cat Brooks’ declaration, “We took to the streets to demand an end to state-sponsored violence. … Let Baltimore hear you! … Now is the time to organize the masses,” recorded the Chronicle, fueled the emotion of the masses. Brooks, a veteran community organizer and Occupy movement advocate, was quoted previously as saying, “I believe in a diversity of tactics. If you are fully aware of the risks, then you have to do what you have to do,” while she blamed police for 99% of violence. She told the Chronicle that she doesn’t condemn violence and stated a need to “engage more of the masses.”

Ed Farris, Vice President of International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)  Local 10, cited racial injustice and police brutality as the reason his group protested earlier that day. His statement came in spite of the fact that three of the six indicted cops are black. He was quoted as saying, “Local 10 (takes) social justice issues to the forefront.”

ILWU spokesperson Stacey Rodgers reportedly applauded the indictment while repeating the persistent rhetoric that unarmed black men are being killed by police, justifying cross-country racial injustice riots.

That morning, May Day protestors also appeared at the MacArthur BART station, but efforts reportedly fizzled out after they had little impact on scheduled travel. The Chronicle noted signs reading “Die Techie Scum” and “Your Friend Request Has Been Denied.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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