OAKLAND (KPIX) – A coalition of labor groups kicked off the first of several May protests in Oakland with a caravan through the city that ended with the occupation of a house in West Oakland.
About two dozen groups of workers started at the Lake Merritt BART station and dispersed in a bike and car caravan that crossed Oakland for several hours. Participants called for higher levels of compensation and worker protection, pointing out that the pandemic had exposed the struggle of many American workers.
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“It helped people see how vulnerable the working class is,” said Eve Stardust.
The United States is home to 4 percent of the population and 20 percent of COVID deaths, “said Rachel Jackson of the People’s Strike Bay Area. “That focuses on colored people, the elderly, and a lot of them were his workers.”
The motorcade, which stretched for several blocks, passed a number of companies that were the focus of recent work meetings.
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“That’s why we make the kind of caravan we do,” Jackson said. “Go to Amazon, support Whole Foods, and then support some people who care about housing.”
The location of this rendezvous at the end of the caravan was not announced in advance.
It eventually turned out to be an empty house that demonstrators claimed to have lived in. The house is near the intersection of Chase and Wood Streets in West Oakland, and it wasn’t immediately clear who owned the house, how long the group wanted to live in, or whether someone wanted to move in.
Further protests were planned for later Saturday evening in Oakland.
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Police have warned downtown companies that some protesters may intend to cause property damage.