Peaceful protesters hold May Day march through Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Thousands will take to the streets in the Bay Area nationwide for May Day protests.

Traditionally, the demonstrations are over economic equality, workers' rights and social justice. But in Oakland, union workers made up the crowd of protesters at the Port of Oakland Friday morning focused on a modern day issue-relations between police and people of color.

"The goal here is to affirm humanity for black people, brown people, oppressed people throughout America. We are here for no other reason," said Derrick Muhammad, a Local 10 business agent.

The protests at the MacArthur BART station also had a modern day twist. This group is angry at high tech companies-and planned to block the tech commuter buses.

"These tech companies are coming to the Bay Area and gentrifying these neighborhoods because someone with more money can come in and pay more rent," said Andre Sanchez, one of the protesters.

This protest was well publicized, so the tech buses did not stop here. AC Transit buses also bypassed the station. Activists admitted they used Facebook to get the word out about their anti-Facebook action. They are also using the social site to monitor their message.

"I think it spreads awareness if you go onto the Facebook page. There's a dialogue happening by people who work for these tech giants," explained one of the protesters, name Cleo.

Police also got word of the planned activity. Oakland police showed up in large numbers and even asked the CHP for back up. But they weren't needed. Friday morning's groups were peaceful.

"We aren't here to throw rocks or destroy property. We are here to make a demonstration because the Longshoreman are part of the community, too," said Muhammad.

May Day originally started as a pagan ritual celebrating the start of summer. In the 19th century, labor movements starting using May Day as a day to recognize workers' rights.

The Port of Oakland has already scheduled its closure today, delaying operations for eight hours. Organizers are calling for protests to remain peaceful. Union leadership says, it's angry over social injustice -- specifically the police shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was killed during a traffic stop in South Carolina. Scott had family members who are Longshoremen.

May Day protests will be taking place in other Bay Area cities. In San Francisco, there will be a festival at Civic Center Plaza at 1:30 p.m. That will be followed by a march to 24th and Mission Streets at 3:30 p.m.

In San Jose, there will be a 2 p.m. rally at the corner of Target Plaza at Story and King Roads followed by a march and rally at City Hall.

Events will also be held in other cities including, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.
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