Protests in San Francisco Continue Into the Night

by on March 19, 2008 · 0 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Media, Organizing, Peace Movement

Here are latest reports of on-going demonstrations in San Francisco tonight – March 19th

ContraCosta Times – Protest Diary

6:53 p.m. – Thousands of protestors have shut down traffic between McAlister and Van Ness and Market streets. They are staging die-ins; a big group lying down on the sidewalk representing those killed in the war.A marching band is passing through and inviduals with megaphones are yelling chants about the freeing of Palestine. One of main chants is, “No blood for oil. U.S. off Arab soil.”

Kylee Cronin, 18, said a year ago today her friend committed suicide rather than being deployed to Iraq, His partner had a child and died and now Cronin is raising that 6-month-child.

There is a huge line of riot police walking along Market Street.

People piled onto the hood of a Veterans for Peace truck, caused near misses for people on foot and bicycles and wheelchairs.

6:15 p.m. – No one has started marching yet, but as many as 20 police officers in riot gear have arrived to separate protesters in Civic Center Plaza from about two dozen representatives from College Republican groups based at local campuses.

The police have formed two lines in front of City Hall to separate protesters in the plaza from the groups from University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley.

Before police arrived, the groups were shouting at each other across the street, but now each side is standing peacefully. The crowd from Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco is going to take off down Mission Street in about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, the crowd continues to grow in the plaza. Groups holdings signs reading “The Irish Against the War, A Vigil for Peace” mingle with representatives form the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Small dogs wear shirts reading, “Pups for peace.”

The College Republicans from San Francisco State University are there, too, standing on the outskirts of the plaza and carrying an American flag and signs in support of the troops.

Catherine Savvides, 21, an international student from the Mediterranean studying at San Francisco State University, said she thinks the entire world is against this war.

“Bush needs to be impeached,” she said, “and we need to stop the government from being a terrorist nation.”

San Francisco police said some 143 people were arrested today, and two protesters shouted to a reporter that they saw a caravan earlier today taking away a busload of arrestees.

John Friedberg, 63, of San Francisco, says he’s been protesting since the Vietnam War.

“This is Vietnam 2, the sequel,” he said, “only now the hole in the ground is bigger and deeper.”San Francisco police said some 143 people were arrested today, and two protesters shouted to a reporter that they saw a caravan earlier today taking away a busload of arrestees.

John Friedberg, 63, of San Francisco, says he’s been protesting since the Vietnam War.

“This is Vietnam 2, the sequel,” he said, “only now the hole in the ground is bigger and deeper.”

5:10 p.m. – Colorful crowds of nearly 1,000 are flocking from BART trains and neighborhood streets for a massive protest at San Francisco’s Civic Center.

People such as Simon Hyatt, 22, and his friends, all students at Sacramento City College, have spent the day on Amtrak and public transportation to be a part of the march.

Hyatt carries a sign that he said represents the steps toward a totalitarian regime in the U.S. It reads, “Secret prisons, fear, torture, lies and wire taps.”

Police in riot gear are surrounding the crowd and stage in a chilly Civic Center Plaza, and several helicopters are circling overhead.

Everyone is screaming in response to speakers calling out, “Are we ready to stop this war?”

Chris Morris, 29, of San Francisco, and his young son, both adorned in reggae clothing, have been dancing all day to get their voices heard.

“People need to understand that we’re at an important place in history and we need to make a choice to respect one another,” he said, “not die for the wealth of others.” [For the remainder of this article. go here.]

This report came from MediaNews correspondents Sean Mather and Allison Baca and Staff Writers Kristin Bender and Doug Oakley. It is being written by Staff Writer William Brand.

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