Aboard the Google Bus, Looking Out at the Protest

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The view from a shuttle bus in West Oakland, headed for Google's Mountain View campus but halted by protesters. (@craigsfrost via Twitter).
The view from a shuttle bus in West Oakland, headed for Google's Mountain View campus but halted by protesters. (@craigsfrost via Twitter).

At least two of the people aboard Google buses stopped by protesters in Oakland Friday morning have offered accounts of what they saw. Googler Craig Frost posted a few pictures, including the one above, of the protest and its aftermath, which included a smashed bus window and at least one flat tire.

I haven't succeeded in making direct contact with Mr. Frost, but on Twitter, he lets his images speak for themselves without any jeremiad against the protesters who interrupted his morning commute. And while protesters characterized the bus passengers as living "fat as hogs with your free 24/7 buffets" on the Google campus, Frost suggests in one exchange on Twitter that he might be at least passingly familiar with the housing issues the protesters are raising:

Another Google worker riding the bus through West Oakland this morning took to Facebook to recount what happened. This person, who didn't want us to use his/her name, talked to us later. The protesters' short manifesto blamed the technology sector and its workers for many of the ills afflicting Oakland, this 15-year Oakland resident has another view: Protests like the one this morning are the last thing the city needs, and the activists who are targeting the buses need to get a clue. Here's part of the worker's conversation with KQED News:

What's most frustrating is that there are so many other issues going on in Oakland, like crime and poverty, and I feel like the corporate shuttles are the last thing these people should be worrying about. We're not really causing any harm. And it's really unfortunate that they don't really see, you know, the big picture here. I mean, they're just going to be driving out the people who really care about the city, out of Oakland.

Was the protest scary?

It wasn't scary at all, it was just more, more frustrating — it made me really angry that I just can't go to my bus stop and like get on the bus and feel safe about it. Like now, I have to worry about whether my car's going to get vandalized when I get back from work. It's not scary since I've been through worse incidents in Oakland, and I feel like it's really unfortunate that we have to go through this.

What would the worker say to the protesters?

I would say do your homework. Really just sort of kind of take a step back and really look, really think about what you're doing, and ... really see that these things that you're doing are really causing harm to our city. People are watching us from all across the globe and people are just painting a really bad picture of Oakland.