Oakland businesses brace for 2nd weekend of protests

July 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
There is a call for calm ahead of Saturday's planned demonstrations over the verdict in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case. Even so, Oakland businesses prepare for the worst.

Oakland's Uptown area is bracing for another weekend of protests over the Trayvon Martin verdict. No one knows what to expect, but no one, other than the trouble-makers, want any more violence and vandalism.

Outside Oakland Hall organizers are predicting a massive protest, but police, politicians and the protest organizers are all promising this weekend will be peaceful.

Oakland businesses around City Hall have been hit hard by vandals, during this week's protest marches. On Friday night there was a fleet of vans is parked outside police headquarters, waiting to ferry officers to whereever they might be needed.

California Bank and Trust isn't trusting enough to take down the plywood that's protecting their windows. The Bank of America windows are also boarded up for the weekend. A nearby lumber yard says businesses have plywood left over from the Occupy protests and there's a lot of it around Uptown.

The Tribune building lost $6,000 worth of glass broken by someone Wednesday night when there was no protest. Today the tribune put up security lights and cameras. Organizers of Saturday's rally in front of the federal building are expecting 1,000 people they are promising to take steps to make it peaceful.

"We're ending earlier than planned. We're ending at 3 p.m. and it's also going to be in that one centralized location and we did agree if any violence does occur, we're going to end the demonstration then and there," said Justin Jones, a rally organizer.

At Friday's farmers market a number of East Bay residents told me they'll be staying away from Oakland this weekend.

"Because of the crowds now bad they've gotten. They've gotten unruly and out of control," said Mary Wieler of Hayward.

"It's one thing to protest and have an opinion about it, but there's a way to do things without hurting the community," said Melinda Jackson of San Leandro.

But the organizer of the farmer's market is taking a different tack. Saturday is his wife's birthday and he did have reservations at a nice restaurant in San Francisco, until the vandals hit Uptown.

"We wanted to support some local merchants in town. We made new reservations in Uptown at Duende. So well be having dinner Saturday at Duende," said Ron Pardini from the Urban Village Farmers Market.

It's been a rough week for Uptown businesses. A weekend of support and peace would be a big relief.


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