Protesters blocked buses said to be operated by Google Inc and Apple Inc in San Francisco and Oakland on Friday, the latest sign of a growing backlash against the booming tech industry’s impact, especially on access to affordable housing in the region.
About 40 protesters surrounded a corporate bus in the Mission district as it was picking up employees for the morning commute, preventing it from leaving for about 30 minutes.
The company for which the bus was headed was not immediately clear. A small sign in the front window said only “Main Campus, Ridgeview.” An Internet search showed that Apple has offices on Ridgeview Court, not far from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, 40 miles south of San Francisco.
Two Google buses in Oakland were also targeted by protesters on Friday morning, a source familiar with the matter told reporters.
“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,” said a protester in San Francisco who addressed the crowd by loudspeaker from the back of a pickup truck parked in front of the bus.
Protesters unfurled a banner that read “Eviction Free San Francisco” and distributed flyers titled “San Francisco: A tale of two cities.” Apple declined to comment.
Google said in a statement that the company does not want to cause any inconvenience to Bay Area residents. “We and others in our industry are working with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to agree on a policy on shuttles in the city.”
The buses have become among the most visible symbols of what some complain is the technology-driven gentrification of San Francisco, with young, well-paid tech workers forcing out less affluent residents, and city policies that some critics have said are too generous to the tech industry. Twitter Inc, which won an exemption on the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax after it threatened to leave San Francisco in 2011, has been a frequent target of critics.
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