Friday, November 28, San Francisco—The march started at 6 pm as hundreds of people poured onto Market Street near the waterfront. The demonstrators quickly occupied the street while cops on foot stepped alongside on sidewalks on both sides of the street, riot gear at the ready.
The protest march moved briskly up Market, chanting: No Justice No Peace, No Racist Police; Hands Up, Don’t Shoot; Justice For Michael Brown, Shut the Whole System Down; and How Much Glass Has to Shatter, Before We Realize Black People Matter.
As the march approached the retail shopping center on Market, crowds of shoppers, attracted by the protest groups mass and vibrant noise, turned to see what was going on. Black Friday was turning into Justice For Michael Brown Night.
When the march approached Union Square, anchored by Macys and other retail giants, it went onto Ellis Street, which leads to the square, then filled with shoppers eager to squander their cash and flash their plastic.
But the cops stopped the march and trapped the marchers before they could reach the square. Nevertheless the demonstrators made their presence known as well as their message of social justice.
Protestors who hadn’t been trapped made their way back to Market, shouting and chanting, knocking over police barricades, and taking various actions on store windows.
At an Apple Store near Union Square someone had sprayed a window with a message. Behind the otherwise unmarred glass a couple dozen people inside huddled around a lone cop.
On Market police vehicles were parked in the street, lights flashing. Other cops were posted at the entrances of major retail outlets, protecting the public’s right to shop till it dropped, or maxed out their cards.
A group of demonstrators faced off with the SFPD at 5th and Market. Small groups of protesters circulated throughout downtown, their signs and chants capturing the spirit of the night. Young shoppers, curious about it all, milled about, eager to learn what was going on.
By this time Market Street itself was pretty much shutdown to vehicular traffic. Private traffic had devolved into de facto parking lots. Incoming MUNI buses sat in clumps, going nowhere. Outgoing buses had left in a hurry shortly before the march began.
In contrast, police cars, sirens screaming, lights pulsing wildly, were racing all over downtown, and squads of foot cops were jogging here, there and everywhere.
Later the action shifted to the Mission District. As for me, I found myself in the Civic Center some time before 8, looking for a #5 bus to take me home. I learned that the next 5 would be coming in 36 minutes. Maybe.
And the night was still young.