OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Another Bay Area street food vendor attack has been caught on camera – this time in Oakland. The attack comes on the heels of two other street food vendor attacks in San Jose.
The latest video shows a woman ranting and tossing over tables of food in Oakland. This attack happened back in January, but it was shared with KRON4 News on Thursday to raise awareness about how often food vendors deal with violence. Advocates say these attacks are dehumanizing, and these vendors deserve protection.
In this attack, the woman is seen flipping over tables, throwing spoons at workers, and trashing a grill on the night of January 26.
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. Seeing how they were throwing everything was sad,” said the vendor, Humberto Villa.
Villa’s business El Asadero Poblano on International Boulevard has dealt with violence from this woman before.
“This is the second time she has come to assault us and police have not done anything about it,” he said.
Villa is one of at least three Bay Area food vendors who have been attacked this year. The others happened outside of the SAP Center and near a San Jose auto parts business.
“It’s a stigma people have against street vendors. There’s property owners thinking that they own public property. There’s people that think that they do not want to get permits when it’s easy to get, which is not true,” said Edin Alex Enamorado, a street vendor activist.
Enamorado believes the issues boil down to people getting angry that prices at food stands, just like everywhere else, have gotten more expensive.
“I don’t see people knocking over egg stands at the grocery store because the prices are high. I don’t see people damaging or vandalizing gas pumps because the gas prices are high. It’s just a dehumanizing way that people are looking at street vendors,” he said.
Last year, a landmark bill was signed into law to make it easier for vendors to sell food on streets throughout the state. SB972 aimed to make it easier at acquiring a permit while also prohibiting criminal penalties for vendors.
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Enamorado and Villa agree more needs to be done to protect food vendors and their livelihood. Villa says he’s just trying to make a living.
“There should be an extra layer of protection for them because they’re an at-risk demographic, and if that’s not done things are going to get worse,” Enamorado said.
In a show of support for Villa’s business. There will be a food vendor buyout event on International Boulevard in Oakland on Friday night. That starts at 5 p.m. Organizers want food vendors to know they’re loved… and not alone.