'Wall of Moms' movement extends to the Bay Area
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - More than a thousand people gathered in downtown Oakland on Saturday in solidarity with protesters in Portland.
The focus was on Black Lives Matter, but many were equally concerned about the federal forces sent to quell protests in Portland.
Those demonstrations have spawned a movement of moms that has come to the Bay Area.
Wearing bright yellow shirts and carrying peace signs, the Bay Area "Wall of Moms" took to Oakland’s Frank Ogawa plaza to continue protests for Black Lives Matter.
They are willing to act as human barriers to protect the people whose voices want to be heard.
“It's really great to see mom's standup with the protestors in solidarity and protect the protestors,” said protestor, Raven Malone.
But none who helped organize the Oakland event were willing to speak on camera out of fear.
They said the event on their Facebook page was hacked and the event canceled.
Some said they endured threats online.
An organizer of a similar Palo Alto event was willing to talk about what they see as intimidation.
“So we know there are forces that would try and undo the good they're doing or prevent them from doing,” said Ruth Robertson with Wall of Moms Bay Area.
The Wall of Moms and other protestors are mindful of the federal police presence in Portland, which has sometimes turned violent but are undeterred from publicly speaking out about a cause they believe in.
“Especially right now with what's happening in Portland, which is really disgusting to me and I'm just here to represent and to show Portland that I'm here in solidarity with them,” said Adelaida Caballero.
“It's terrifying. It's one of the reasons I'm willing to put my life on the line, my body on the line because I see this is becoming a fascist dictatorship,” said Chad Michaud.
As the evening protest got underway in Oakland, there was hardly an officer in sight, certainly no unidentifiable federal force.
“I feel like protestors are just people who want to be heard. They are fighting for equality and I feel like they should just be able to do that without intervention,’ said Malone.
“They're not going to intimidate me. I'm just here to continue the fight and I am not afraid of them,” said Caballero.
Police did come out later in the evening donning riot gear. Oakland Police said the department had been vandalized and protesters smashed windows and spray-painted the side of the building. Authorities also said some demonstrators shot fireworks and pointed lasers at officers and helicopters