Protesters break window of Google bus, report says

Demonstrators blocked buses shuttling Google and Apple employees to work, the second such protest in two weeks.

A fake Google employee shouts at protesters. Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET
The backlash between the tech industry and the community around it continues to grow, and the buses shuttling employees to and from Silicon Valley offices to their San Francisco and Oakland homes are becoming a symbol of that divide.

Protesters upset with, among other things, the rising rents due to highly paid tech workers moving into the city have staged demonstrations targeting those buses, blocking their paths as they try to depart for the Valley. On Friday, one of the protests resulted in vandalism, with demonstrators breaking the window of one Google bus in Oakland, according to a report by The New York Times. Neither Google nor Apple immediately responded to requests for comment. We'll update this post if we hear back.

There were three bus protests in all -- two Google buses in Oakland and one Apple bus in San Francisco, according to the Times. "We want the ruling class, which is becoming the tech class, to listen to our voices and listen to the voices of folks that are being displaced," one protestor said, according to Reuters.

Friday's protest was the second such demonstration in two weeks. The last one involved a bit of performance art, with a man posing as a Googler shouting rage-baiting condemnations of the protest, like, "You can't afford it? Then leave." The video went viral, and though he was a faux tech worker, it speaks to the growing sentiment about the wealth disparity in the Bay Area. Adding to the resentment is the fact that the buses pick up passengers at stops designated for the city's official public transportation without paying the city.

But while the non-Valley public starts to push back against the tech elite, there are signs that the tech elite are feeling isolated themselves. On Thursday evening, TechCrunch reported that tech investor Tim Draper proposed California be split up into six separate states -- including one state specifically cordoned off as Silicon Valley.

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About the author

Richard Nieva is a staff writer for CNET. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times and on CJR.org.

 

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