Fife noted that Mayor Libby Schaaf, who was scheduled to attend Friday's summit, has been promoting the message that "Oakland is open for business."
"We wanted to say Oakland will be open for business when Oakland is open for everyone," Fife said.
In a statement, Schaaf's office said the mayor offered to meet with the protesters so the business summit could continue. The group declined the offer, the statement said, at which point Schaaf left.
Barbara Leslie, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said in a statement later that the protest had disrupted a meeting focused on helping city residents:
Today the Oakland Chamber of Commerce had no choice but to cancel its long-planned annual Economic Summit after it was disrupted by an action of activists protesting an unrelated topic. Local business, nonprofit and community leaders were eager to hear from speakers like Denis Ring, Founder of OCHO Chocolate who is committed to sustainable business manufacturing and creating jobs for West Oaklanders. Representatives from Goodwill Industries were also present and eager to engage in a dialogue about growing jobs in Oakland. Attendees were unable to hear about the work that the Chamber and business community are doing to ensure that our residents are prepared for college and careers right here. While the protestors chose to deny participants the opportunity to learn about some of the great work being done, The Chamber and its partners in the public and private sector will continue their efforts to build a thriving Oakland.
One specific target of the protesters' anger was the City Council's tentative approval earlier this week of a 360-unit housing development on a city-owned parcel on East 12th Street.