What Have Protesters Done to Oakland's Beloved Whole Foods?

A handful of anarchists besieged an Oakland Whole Foods a few minutes ago, after false rumors circulated that managers had threatened employees with termination if they participated in today's Occupy Oakland general strike. Whole Foods hasn't seen such strife since the Great Kombucha Shortage of 2010!

One window was broken and a giant "STRIKE" spray-painted across others, as Bay Area shoppers who were happily browsing locally-sourced, organic produce were trapped by members of a locally-sourced, organic protest. The East Bay Express was on the scene, tweeting:

approx. 75 Whole Foods shoppers have been barricaded inside by protesters. a few are throwing rocks. one window broken… Protesters were hurling rocks and chairs at windows. Shoppers were held inside, away from glass; eventually let out thru back.

The Oakland Tribune reports that other demonstrators prevented the troublemakers from getting out of hand and carrying out armfuls of that overpriced puffin cereal: "Other demonstrators who had marched to Whole Foods enveloped the agitators, forcing them to stop. Fist-fights broke out. No one went inside; the store closed before the crowd arrived."

What Have Protesters Done to Oakland's Beloved Whole Foods?

The vandalism appears to have been sparked by rumors that Whole Foods managers threatened to fire any employee who participated in the general strike.

Whole Foods' official Northern California Twitter account batted down the rumors. "Despite what folks are saying NO ONE is being fired for participation in [the General Strike.] We even offered to help cover shifts for people who wished to go." (Still, there's plenty of other shitty stuff Whole Foods does that should piss you off, guys!)

An Oakland Bank of America branch was also vandalized. "Thoroughly trashed," tweeted Susie Cagle. "Paint, grafitti, signs, broken windows & ATMs."

Despite the outbreaks of violence, the vast majority of marchers appear to be peaceful, chanting "peaceful protests" whenever someone acts up. SFist blames a small "anarchist group dressed in black" for the destruction of property.

Come on, Occupy Oakland. Take a cue from your peaceful brethren in New York: Don't smash evil corporations' windows, just overflow their toilets.

[Image via Susie Cagle and Inga Beck]