OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A charity group is blaming violent protests in Oakland for a huge drop in donations this holiday season.

The Salvation Army pulled bell ringers from many of its Broadway stores in Oakland because they feared for their safety.

“A lot of good sites for kettles are right here on Broadway.  Walgreens and other stores there are some of our better spots,” Salvation Army Captain Dan Williams told KPIX 5.

The Salvation Army in Oakland saw the lowest donations in its Red Kettle campaign ever, down $67,000 compared to last year.

“We cut our days short at some of the stores because we want to get our kettle workers out of the area before the protests would start,” Williams said.

Williams says the charity was hit especially hard when people demonstrated at the Oakland and San Leandro Walmart stores on Black Friday, and the following weekend.

“Those are huge days for us.  Those days we make $500, $600 in each kettle at each store, which was a huge loss for us.”

There were roughly twenty protests during six weeks of the Red Kettle Campaign.  The Salvation Army says neighboring cities like Hayward and Fremont where there were no protests saw no drop in donations.

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