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Oakland businesses shut down in protest against rising crime, activists say

A large crowd gathered to protest crime in Oakland as a business strike was announced in front of the shuttering Le Cheval restaurant. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Oakland businesses are holding a shutdown strike Tuesday to demand action on rising crime.

Store owners are demanding direct assistance to businesses and lower crime rates to prevent closures, according to a flyer about the strike, organized by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce president Carl Chan.

The strike comes after the owners of Oakland Vietnamese restaurant Le Cheval announced it would close its Clay Street location on Saturday and plan to reopen elsewhere. Owner Son Tran told CBS that crime is the driving force behind the restaurant’s closure, particularly car break-ins nearby and even customers being robbed inside the restaurant.

A flyer for the strike said 200 businesses were involved. Chan told The Standard a complete list of striking businesses would be made available at a later date.

Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, speaks outside Le Cheval during a press conference Tuesday. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

The Standard is working to verify the number of businesses participating in the Tuesday strike.

Ali Albasiery, owner of Shop Rite Supermarket, confirmed his business is taking part in the strike and showed The Standard text messages from Chan with a list of around 25 businesses—mostly markets—that are said to be striking.

Text messages show a partial list of Oakland businesses that are said to be taking part in Tuesday's strike. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

The owner of Oakland’s Bar Shiru questioned whether 200 businesses were signed up for the strike, posting to X/Twitter in response to the flyer that they had never heard of the strike plans despite being in a coalition with over 30 Oakland businesses. 

Film director and musician Boots Riley called the flyer's claims "fabricated" in a post to X.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said she is also frustrated with crime in the city.

“We are working aggressively to make our communities safer and we’re going to keep doing that,” Thao told SFGate. “We welcome the opportunity to meet with any business owner that wants to work on collective safety solutions alongside our office.”

Oakland violent crime is up 19% in the 12 months before Aug. 27, according to police data. Homicide is down 10% over the same period, while total crime is up 28% over the same period. Car theft is up 52%, and theft from vehicles is up 47% over the same period.

This is a developing story. 

Garrett Leahy can be reached at