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by Michael Steinberg
Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:44 PM
As part of national Day of Resistance actions to protest police murders of people of color, marchers in San Francisco again occupied Market Street, the city’s main commercial thoroughfare.
San Francisco, December 13. 2014—Protesters took over Market Street today one more time to protest the police murders of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and other people of color, as well as the failure to indict and prosecute their killers. Similar actions took place today across the country in a national Day of Resistance.
I knew it was another day of not business as usual once I reached my bus stop. The screen told me:
”Possible re-routes due to planned protest downtown.”
Shortly after 2 pm, thousands of defiant protesters took over Market with banners, signs, and their raised voices and arms, taking off at a lively pace on a sunny brisk afternoon.
“Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” rose up from the marchers as they streamed up Market.
The refused to be intimidated by the large number of SF cops who shadowed them, riot gear within reach, on foot, motorcycles, vans and the obligatory helicopter.
The march quickly occupied the entire width of Market, as people chanted, “Why Are We Here? Black Lives Matter!”
Also in attendance downtown were jolly alcohol-inspired pseudo Santas. But the protest procession, by contrast, included two Santa Sisters in matching black leather jackets and red skirts. They joined in as we thundered, “No More Stolen Lives!”
The march quickly reached the retail district, where shoppers’ attention was drawn to hundreds of hands up, while folks shouted, “Don’t Shoot!,” at the accompanying cops. That chant then turned to “Off the Sidewalks and Into the Streets!”
At Stockton and Ellis, which leads to the even more insane capitalist consumer shopping district of Union Square, riot cops brandishing their clubs blocked the way to anyone not brandishing at least three credit cards.
Not long thereafter, the march came to a halt opposite the equally pathological Westfield Center, and everyone splayed down in the street for 4 1/2 minutes. That time symbolized the 4 /1/2 hours the cops in Ferguson, MO, left Michael Brown’s bullet ridden body in the street after murdering him. Meanwhile, the hordes of SF cops tracking the protesters looked on anxiously.
Fortunately for them, the people rose up again, and began chanting, “Shut It Down For Alex Nieto!” Alex Nieto was a young Latino security guard who was shot and killed by the SFPD earlier this year while having a burrito on his lunch break on Bernal Hill.
The cops’ excuse for murdering him was that they thought he had a gun like theirs. Actually he had a stun gun, which was part of his uniform.
The march continued up Market, the chant changing to, “Shut It Down For Michael Brown!” Soon everyone turned off on McAllister for the Civic Center, where they rallied on the steps of City Hall.
The small army of police took up positions around Civic Center, some at the Bill Graham Center, some across the plaza at the old state building on McAllister, others in the parking area near the library. At the corner of Grove and Van Ness, two white school bus type sheriff’s buses eagerly awaited arrestees.
Suddenly about a dozen cops on dirt bikes spun onto Civic Center Plaza. They immediately seized one person, and soon a police van showed up to take him away. In the same area a person in a wheelchair was having a meal. The police took the food and forced that person to leave the area.
Yes, it was business as usual again. But for how much longer?
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