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After a Night of Protest Vandalism, Oakland Businesses Pick Up the Pieces

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Among the businesses facing a significant cleanup on Saturday in downtown Oakland were several car dealerships, a Target store and a number of businesses on Broadway. For months, downtown Oakland has been a fortress of boarded-up buildings. Those that were not protected on Friday night were vulnerable when the vandalism started.

"Fireworks," said Judith, who lives nearby. Then I heard a couple things that sounded like those sound booms, you know?"

"A lot of the people that were out -- and I was watching videos, I was watching on Twitter -- when the incident happened here, when the car was on fire, they were mainly white people," observed Gina Madrid.

Madrid says Friday night was a bit unexpected, in one respect.

"I'm very connected with the organizers here in the community and I was actually surprised. I didn't really know about this protest," she explained.

In the context of national headlines from Minnesota and now Chicago, protest is something everyone here knows is inevitable.

"So it's like it's one thing that another killing and then another killing happened," Madrid says. "Of course people are angry. Of course this is expected. I mean, it's Oakland too. You know? You're in Oakland."

And then there is the destruction that often comes with the protests. Much of the boarding-up being done around Oakland Saturday wasn't to repair damage from Friday night but to protect businesses whose owners think more trouble might be ahead.

"I'm afraid it is," Judith said. "I wish I could say it wasn't but I am very much afraid that it's going to be a continuing thing -- maybe the better part of the year until it calms down a little bit."

"It's becoming normal," Madrid said. "Shootings are becoming normal and now the protests are becoming normal."

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