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Bay Area Headlines: Monday, 6/1/20, AM

Statewide Looters Cause Damage / Peaceful Protests In Oakland Focus On George Floyd

Statewide Looters Cause Damage

Cities across California declared curfews, yesterday, to head off more violence. That’s after unruly demonstrators at earlier protests burned police cars, broke into stores, and skirmished with officers.

In more than 20 cities, vandals smashed their way into businesses and ran off with as much as they could carry — boxes of sneakers, armloads of clothes and cell phones, and TVs.

Nearly 400 people were arrested in Los Angeles from unrest Saturday as protests became increasingly violent over the last several nights because of outrage over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Violence here in Northern California included an arm wound suffered by a gunshot victim in Walnut Creek.

Most demonstrations began peacefully. About 1,000 people marched through the streets of San Francisco, Saturday, carrying signs and chanting “George Floyd,” and “Black Lives Matter.”

But, later, the Mercury News reported that San Francisco’s popular Union Square saw people stealing leather bags from the Coach store. Streets were littered with bras from Victoria’s Secret and cushioned jewelry boxes from Swarovski.

Mayor London Breed expressed sadness about destruction downtown:

"There were, unfortunately, assaults on people, including police officers. There was vandalism on vehicles, and businesses. There were fires lit. And in watching the videos, I was extremely upset, because unfortunately with some of the vandals, they thought this was a game. They thought this was funny. And this was not funny."

She said she would not tolerate the violence and said the city's 8 p.m. curfew would be extended indefinitely.

Stores in Oakland and Emeryville were also targeted by thieves late Saturday. On Sunday, reports said malls were looted in Fremont, Milpitas, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, San Leandro, Santa Clara, and Walnut Creek.

Governor Gavin Newsom deployed 1,000 members of the National Guard to assist the 20,000 officers of the LA police and sheriff’s departments, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti. San Francisco police chief Bill Scott said about 200 outside officers would work in the city.

Peaceful Protests In Oakland Focus On George Floyd

Hundreds of people gathered around Oakland’s Lake Merritt yesterday afternoon, adding their voices to the protests against recent deaths at the hands of police.

A loud but peaceful parade of cars snaked its way along the lake, with drivers honking and passengers holding their fists out the windows. On the lake’s east side, a line of pedestrians held signs and chanted.

Many in the crowd wore masks. Between the road, sidewalk, and grass there was enough space that social distancing could still be respected, more or less. Eddie Sawyer stood inside the door of his parked car:

"I’m happy to be here. It’s the first time I ever really protest like this and um, it’s a good feeling and I’ve been out here for about two or three hours. It’s for a good cause and it’s what everybody needs to do, and they don’t need to tear up our community, but they need to be here, doing what they’re doing now."

Sophia Brown was also there and struck a more subdued note.

"Right now? I feel, I’m not necessarily angry? What’s a good word?"

Her friend pitched in, offering, “Tired. Exhausted. Fed up.” They want to see change.

By 6 p.m., the protest had mostly died down. Helicopters would later hover over downtown, just as they had all weekend. But voices of resistance still rang out. 

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.