Protests against rising rents and real estate in the Bay Area due to the influx of high-tech workers in Silicon Valley escalated today, with an attack on a Google employee shuttle bus in West Oakland. National Public Radio affiliate KQED confirmed the incident, in which the rear window to the shuttle was smashed, along with other unconfirmed damage.
Today's incident comes on the heels of earlier protests in San Francisco and Oakland, which previously had been focused on the issue of tenants being displaced due to rising rents and real estate prices. The character of the West Oakland incident seemed to many to be more aggressive toward Google and its employees than other bus-related protests in San Francisco, which have been characterized as nonviolent.
Business leaders in the Bay Area have spoken out forcefully against the protests, and condemned the turn toward violence: PandoDaily, a blog that reports on issues of importance to the Silicon Valley community, reported that the Bay Area Council, which represents many of the shuttle-bus operators in their dealings with the city of San Francisco issued a statement saying that “the vandalism ... against employee shuttles and the workers who ride them is unfortunate and unacceptable.” They also questioned the demonstrators' logic, as the buses have a socially conscious, environmentally friendly function: they take many solo drivers off the roads.