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CODEPINK Didn't Stop Traffic, But Police Shut Down Bridge and Arrest Pink Demonstrators
by Teari Heath
Monday Jan 1st, 2007 11:35 PM
In conjunction with hundreds of peaceful demonstrations around the U.S., CODEPINK Women for Peace marked the death of the 3,000th armed serviceperson with a planned walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. The San Francisco contingent were met by San Francisco City Police, California State Troopers and Golden Gate Bridge Park Security Officers who lied to them, telling them that the bridge was private property and they were not allowed to walk across it. Eight women and two men were arrested, charged with tresspassing and eight were released this evening.

Photo: On January 1st, 2007, Bay Area CODEPINK Women For Peace tried to honor the 3000th United States servicemember to be killed in battle in Iraq. This is one of the very few pictures of the servicemembers' caskets that has been released since the government has officially banned the photographing the returning remains of fallen soldiers. (Source: anonymous)

Monday, January 1, 2007

San Francisco, CA -- According to CODEPINK co-founder, Medea Benjamin, the vigil was one of many across the United States that occurred this New Year's weekend. The intent of organizers of the vigil was to peacefully walk across the bridge and publicly mourn the senseless death of the 3000th United States serviceperson who died in combat in Iraq this past weekend. As the pink pedestrians assembled to walk across the bridge on the San Francisco side, they were met by three sets of law enforcement -- San Francisco Police, State Troopers and Golden Gate State Park Security Officers. No traffic disruption was planned, no signs were involved and demonstrators stayed on the public sidewalk at all times, according to Benjamin. Demonstrators who entered from the Marin County side of the bridge were not harassed or arrested.

The police told the demonstrators that they were not allowed to walk on the bridge, contending that the bridge was private property. The demonstrators asserted their rights as members of the public to walk across the publicly-owned bridge. The police proceeded to arrest members of the group, including Colonel Ann Wright and CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin.

"It was ridiculous. At one point, the police told people that anyone dressed in pink wasn't allowed to walk on the bridge," said Benjamin.

For reasons that are unclear, the police shut down the Golden Gate Bridge for three hours Monday afternoon. The result was a significant disruption in traffic on the last day of a holiday weekend -- longer than a walk across the bridge in pedestrian sidewalks by pink-clad demonstators would have likely caused.

The ten arrested were charged with tresspassing despite the fact they were attempting to access public property. As of 8:30 p.m. this evening, eight of the ten protesters had been released. Benjamin says she plans to fight the charges.

Of the more than two hundred vigils planned nationwide marking the death of the 3000th U.S. serviceperson in Iraq, this event in San Francisco was the only one known to have resulted in arrests.

In a related incident, ABC KGO-TV News 7 cameraperson Randy Davis was filming the protest and was told he wasn't allowed to do so by the Golden Gate Park Security. According to an eyewitness, Davis asserted his legal right to film the event and showed his press pass to the officer. The officer then punched Davis in the face and pushed his camera; Davis then shoved back in self-protection.

According to a News 7 6:00 p.m. report, Davis was injured and was being treated at a hospital. His camera was also damaged.


-Published With Collective Commons Rights

-Permission Granted to Republish In Entirety With Credit Given to Source and a Weblink to Original Posting
§There is Plenty of Room on the Golden Gate Bridge...
by Teari Heath Monday Jan 1st, 2007 11:35 PM

...for pedestrians to walk across safely. CODEPINK organizer Rae and Elam pose on the bridge, April 2006. (Courtesy: http://www.womensaynotowar.org )

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by San Francisco Green
Tuesday Jan 2nd, 2007 12:14 AM
Who sent the police on this clumsy mission?

Was it to justify all the anti-terrorism dollars wasted on protecting a bridge that the whole world loves?

Instead, Americans cannot peacefully assemble to excercise their freedom of speech.

The SF Chronicle is slanting the story as if Code Pink was out there to disrupt traffic... We the people are not fooled. They were out there to senbd a message to Nancy Pelosi who wants impeachment "off the table".

It is off the table because Bush either has her blackmailed -- or she deserves to be questioned about crimes she herself committed in allowing this illegal and criminal war in Iraq to proceed.

If she is honest she will press for Impeachment Now! And she will press for our troops home NOW.

While the police were lying when they said the bridge is private property (we taxpayers have paid through the nose for that bridge!), these publicity stunts on the freezing cold Golden Gate Bridge will not end the war against Iraq. To do that, you must organize the workingclass to never join the military, and for those who are already in the military, to quit the military immediately, even if it means some jail time. We need peace rallies in the workingclass communities such as the Mission, Bayview Hunters Point, Fillmore and Tenderloin, with leaflets handed out at the rally and in the surrounding community to teach people to never join the military. This is a labor issue: They cannot fight wars without soldiers. The end of the rally must be followed by walking through all the streets of the community, handing out leaflets to all the young people, male and female. The leaflets should include the viable alternatives: Work while going to community college for the first 2 years and state university for the next 2 years; organize labor unions if the wages are too low; and most importantly, teach the young people that all civilian labor is honorable and that it is certainly more honorable to be a dishwasher than a soldier, murdering one's fellow workers for the profits of the munitions makers, oil companies and other war profiteers. Those who are in the military need to be told that they can and should resign immediately, which will save their lives and Iraqi lives. There is no future with any military as a solldier is just a professional killer, a hired gun. They may spend some time in jail but they will never have to inhale their own depleted uranium, thus hastening their deaths, never face the horrors of war and never kill or maim anyone else. We must be one with the people, like a fish in water. No community lives on the bridge; we live in the ghettos and barrios of this country, and that is where all peace-Never Join Military rallies must be held.
by It will take everybody
Tuesday Jan 2nd, 2007 2:32 AM

On May 1st all the people took the streets and showed that they are here.

Code Pink's action might have been a publicity stunt of a few people-- but if everyone who cares kept returning to the bridge every single day until the troops are back home-- then that would be real.

Code Pink has good ideas-- but they are only ideas to get others going. Rosa Parks didn't sit down-- but her message would have gone nowhere if others hadn't joined her.

The antiwar movement needs good ideas and imagination.

by ntuit
Tuesday Jan 2nd, 2007 10:59 AM
The Highway Patrol and others who think the people don't own the bridge should be shown who does--with a mass march and protest across the Golden Gate Bridge!!!!!

time for more Boston Tea Parties
It might sound exciting to have a mass march on the Golden Gate Bridge to some, but for those of you who were not here for the 50th anniversary of its contruction in 1987, the crowd that showed up for that event filled the bridge to such a capacity that it almost cracked from the weight. We had a near catastrophe. Code Pink has a good lawsuit and should get something out of this financially. At the very least, the charges should be dropped. The best bet for the peace movement is to stay in the workingclass communities who are the key to putting at end to the private profit system that causes war and fascism. Only when labor can organize a national general strike, as it did for immigrants last May Day, can we have any hope of putting an end to this private profit system. The peace issue is first and foremost a labor issue becuase war is all about money, in particular profits, which are our stolen labor.
by Me, Myself and I
Tuesday Jan 9th, 2007 7:52 AM
A few years back, some Christian students wanted to walk across the GGB at the start of a kind of "walk-in." They were turned away, too (but they didn't resist like the CPos).