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Occupy Oakland: Protesters vandalize banks, grocery store

November 2, 2011 |  4:01 pm

Oakland bank

Anti-Wall Street protesters in Oakland have vandalized a Whole Foods store and shattered windows at two downtown banks.

Windows were shattered at a Bank of America branch, where someone also spraypainted "Class War" and "Shut it Down," near Lake Merritt and a Chase bank at 20th and Webster streets.

Police officers on Wednesday afternoon stood outside the Chase bank, where vandals also defaced the ATM machines, spraypainting them black.

PHOTOS: Occupy protests around the nation

"For the Commune," one graffiti message reads.

"Withdraw Only," another reads.

Sheila Dvorak, 29, was visiting Oakland from upstate New York and geared up for a peaceful march Wednesday evening to the Port of Oakland to voice her concerns about healthcare.

She stood somewhat stunned near the shattered Chase bank windows.

"I think the root of the movement is peaceful," said Dvorak, who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge with Occupy Wall Street last month. "I would ask whoever broke these windows to remember that. It's the only way we'll get what we want."

"This doesn't feel right," she added. "It's not what I expected."

As she spoke, someone posted another sign on the busted window: "We are better than this."

An axe-wielding vandal broke several windows at the Oakland Whole Foods Market, said company spokeswoman Jennifer Marples. In addition, the word “strike” was spray on an outside window, and the building was splashed with paint.

The company closed the store down at about 3:30 p.m., and security guards escorted workers to their cars, she said.

“Nobody was hurt,” she said. “Everyone, customers and team members, were all safe and sound. “Security is still there and will be there throughout the evening.”

Police estimated the number of marchers at about 1,000, while organizers said the number was closer to double that. 


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-- Lee Romney in Oakland and Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco

Photo: An Oakland police officer peers inside a vandalized bank.

Credit: Lee Romney / Los Angeles Times