The U.S. Post Office this weekend said it removed several blue mailboxes in downtown Oakland in anticipation of vandalism related to ongoing protests in solidarity with protests in Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake.
A candlelight vigil honoring victims of police violence took place Saturday night.
“It’s important for the community to keep coming out and showing that this is something that we’re aware of, that we’re passionate about, that matters, that’s not going away until we make systemic change,” said Oakland resident Nathan Reinicke.
The vigil continued with a march.
The previous few nights have seen some vandalism as peaceful protests are infiltrated by vandals bent on destruction.
The Alameda County Courthouse is boarded up in anticipation of more damage.
But right outside the courthouse is a blue U.S. Post Office mailbox.
It is not among the six others in downtown Oakland that have been cut loose and taken away by the agency.
According to congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, the mailboxes have been removed for safety reasons ahead of protests so they won’t be damaged.
She’s not happy about it and is demanding to know when they will be returned.
Demonstrators don’t buy the reasoning.
“I think it’s a convenient excuse for the ongoing gutting of the United States Postal Service,” said Reinicke.
People having dinner near where a spot where one of the boxes used to stand don’t buy the reasoning either.
“I can’t believe that,” said Oakland resident Denise Dotson. “I’m sorry, I just don’t. I don’t see why the protesters would destroy the mailboxes. That’s B.S. to me.”
Another Oakland resident, Ursula Rodriguez, agreed.
“I think it’s just another way to control the election coming up,” she said.
Earlier this month the Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, came under heavy criticism for several initiatives that have seemingly slowed down postal deliveries.
He then promised to pause his efforts, including removing the blue mailboxes.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said.
Representative Barbara Lee sent a letter to DeJoy reminding him of his statement and his recent testimony before congress making a similar promise.
She expects the boxes to be replaced Monday.
The United States Post Office has not yet returned NBC Bay Area’s calls and messages seeking comment about the missing blue boxes.