It has been noisy with helicopters constantly in the air. The downtown streets started filling up with protesters two nights ago. After a grocery trip, I followed one of the helicopters towards Lake Merritt. I turned down Madison and then at the intersection with 14th St., I saw a dozen police cars, and scores of OPD. Smoke was in the air. A dozen or so bystanders were on the sidewalk. I parked and started to check out the scene. I talked to a street journalist guy with pro Sony headphones and a microphone who was interviewing people to see what was going on. He told me it was that this is where the Fruitvale BART protest ended up and that there was rioting.
I went back to my car and sent out a couple Twitter messages. A bottle crashed to the pavement a few feet from my car. Time to get out!
Helicopters circled the city all night. I checked tv to see if there was any coverage. The local Oakland station? Nope. The only station doing some live coverage before 10PM was KRON. The most news I got was from doing searches for ‘riot’ and ‘Oakland’ on Twitter’s summize.com.
Though there are reasons for the community to be upset about the tragic New Year’s Eve BART shooting, trashing the struggling business of downtown Oakland doesn’t seem to be the answer. The businesses and citizens of Oakland had nothing to do with this incident. There seemed to be an anarchist element that came from out of town that helped create the violence, arson and property damage that happened that night.
It was only two months ago these streets were full of joy and hope after Obama was elected. Now there are boarded windows and burnt cars in the streets.