San Francisco, December 5 --For the 4th time since last Friday—and the 3rd consecutive night—people protesting killer cops who got away with murdering Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in NYC shut down Market Street in downtown San Francisco.
This report details the protest actions of one group that gathered near the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market, near the city’s downtown retail center. Reportedly two other protest groups took action, one at Union Square and the other at 5th and Mission.
A little after 6 pm, the group at Market and Powell was gathered adjacent to the Gap store’s flagship location. A half dozen cops stood guard there.
The protesters were chanting, “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police; Indict, Convict; Send These Killer Cops To Jail; The Whole Damn System Is Going To Hell;” and the already iconic “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!”
One person recited the last words of Eric Garner, choked to death by New York cops earlier this year: “Every time I see you, you bother me. Leave me alone, please just leave me alone. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe…”
Nearby small groups of police, on foot and sitting on motorcycles, were lounging and laughing. Across Market dozens of cops lined the front of the Westfield Center, looking at ease for the moment.
At 6:45 all the demonstrators laid down on the brick walk, continuing their chants with increasing passion. On the other side of Market, 4 police vans and a cruiser laid in wait.
Soon the protesters got to their feet and moved to Market Street’s curb. Then they stepped off into the street, chanting, “Turn it up, don’t turn it down, we do this for Michael Brown.”
In no time vehicular traffic, including city buses, came to a complete halt on Market. The cops came alive, forming double lines on either side of the occupiers. The chants became stronger, the outrage more palpable.
The police on the street stood their ground, evidently restrained by their higher ups, and all the paperwork that mass arrests would dictate.
Just past 7 pm the protest in the street moved to the Powell Street BART Station, where commuters were greeted by the group’s raucous messages demanding social justice for people of color besieged by racist cops.
From there the group climbed back up to Market and marched on the sidewalk towards the Civic Center, eventually taking a right and marching into the Tenderloin, where a good many African American men were hanging out on the streets during their Friday night.
One man remarked, “They still shooting everybody all week.”
As the march passed a 10 story apartment building on Ellis Street, a wistful voice could be heard drifting down from on high: “I can’t breathe…I can’t breathe...”
The demonstrators stopped in a number of intersections along the way, as well as in front of the Hilton Hotel, where visitors as well as workers came out to take in the scene. All along the way foot cops followed, along with others in motorized vehicles.
The march soon came full circle, racing down Powell Street into Market again chanting “Black Lives Matter!”
The lines of police formed around the protesters again, some officers appearing weary and agitated.
Traffic on Market once again snarled and stopped.
The protesters laid in the street for a while, then rose up, singing, “We ain’t gonna stop until we are free.”
Just then a terse police voice came out over the street, declaring the occupation an illegal assembly.
The assembled simply marched off Market Street, onto the sidewalk, right past the cops still lining Westfield Center, chanting, “We’re young, we’re strong, we can do this all night long!”