After months of warning that Tea Party protests would erupt into violence, a wave of vandalism and violence crested in Santa Cruz this weekend. Masked protesters wielding torches swarmed through the business district, smashing windows and chanting “the streets are on fire!” and “Revolution!” It’s exactly the kind of armed uprising that Tea Party critics predicted … except that it didn’t erupt at a Tea Party:
A group of protesters demonstrating at a May Day rally for worker’s and immigrant rights downtown broke off into a riot vandalizing about a dozen businesses around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.
Windows were left shattered and graffiti including anarchy signs were tagged onto buildings. The Rittenhouse Building, Urban Outfitters, Jamba Juice and Velvet Underground all had windows broken, according to Capt. Steve Clark.
Santa Cruz police asked for help from all agencies in the county to break up the riot of about 200 people. At one point, protesters lit a fire on the porch of Caffe Pergolesi and blocked access to firefighters, officers said. Police were able to clear out the demonstrators before more damage was caused.
A large rock sat outside Verizon Wireless on the 100 block of Cooper Street, where vandals tried to break the window twice, according to Clark.
Update: Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee says it wasn’t just Santa Cruz, either, but also Asheville, NC. The Boss Emeritus finds another in San Francisco. She also finds a Univision reporter participating in a protest he was covering. Will Univision suspend the reporter as KOTA did Shad Olson?