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March 18, 07 escalation anniversary
Here are photos with some captions of a large fourth anniversary of the Iraq escalation march.
Shortly after this march, someone said that either the Chronicle's sfgate.com or the television said there were 3000 people. That is absolutely not true. This was very close to the average for the long list of San Francisco marches since 2002 - and probably had at least 40,000. Many people near me thought they were towards the end when they arrived at the Civic center for the ANSWER speeches, but it took nearly another hour for everyone to finish coming from Market street. The civic plaza was filled up.
Antonia Juhasz and Direct Action to Stop the War worked with this group at the beginning
This group was impressively large, and had lots of cute people with it.
Quite a few people had seen an internet posting, the week earlier, calling for something like a 'breakaway' march, with somewhat similar style to events that happened in 2003 and 2004. Infoshop demoted it and some were suspicious of who was calling this, because it was unattributed. Moreover, this weekend had many distracting things going on, what with the big BASTARD conference in the east bay, and the 2nd day of the book fair - which was packed with people. How many could also manage to attend the peace march?
Still, many seemed to be looking around for the described black flags, which weren't readily visible after the ANSWER march came to the Civic Center. Two weird people were wearing henry rollins-black flag shirts and had a small black flag they were carrying back and forth, but they didn't make sense.
After some time, a group of about 75 people who seemed to be either wearing black or in some way were aware of the call coalesced near the library after someone waved a flag. There were about 30 police transport vans, plus prisoner buses on the south side of civic center, and squads of police were scattered at all the intersections in the area, totalling several hundred officers. Soon, one line of a dozen did a 'walk by and stare' manoevre at the intersection by the library where some 'black bloc' attired people were. Soon after, the person with the sound system left. About 30 of the black attired people crossed the street and sat on the grass by the library. The rest of the vaguely affiliated people stood some distance down the street or on the Civic Center plaza block. At this point, some police motorbike squads pulled in to start essentially staring at the tighter group sitting on the grass, and a large double-squad of police with helmets assembled in a square near the library dropoff parking lot. The green hat observers, and various people with cameras, both with and without press passes, stood an intermediate distance away, while other clumps of people stood a block away or wandered around.
Some time passed as the tighter group sat on the grass talking.
Then this group of about 30 stood up and walked eastward towards market street, and then sat in a circle on the library steps and started a discussion. The motorbike squad started their engines to follow them down there, and the foot officers also seemed to be radioing each other to adjust their positions, and some press and gawkers started taking their photos. There were squads of ~20 officers standing at many nearby spots around the corner from the library, and at all the civic center.
Someone in the discussion circle started passing out some pieces of paper. The most prominent rectangle of officers seemed to be placed there for intimidation. A lot of time passed, and the blood must have been pooling in their feet. Speeches echoed out from the main stage, and various main-march participants started break-dancing, drumming, and walking around and eating. While the march had arrived at the center around 2pm, it was about 4pm when the 'black bloc' looking group stood up in 2 or 3 lines and started to sing one or two songs that had been printed on the lyric sheet they had handed out and had been practicing.
Next, the group walked towards the civic center again, causing the motorbikes to all turn around and start to follow them as though they were about to set off on an unpermitted march, which could allow the police to target them all for essentially voluntary encirclement and arrest. Instead, they sat down on the grass on the sunny side of the library again. After a while, the police walked away and people went back to their lives.
There was some trouble aiming the camera here, but what this shows is someone dancing, then it pans towards a large squad of 50 police (not centered), and way off in the distance the people with black clothes are sitting on the stairs. There is an odd second where an officer seems to be grabbing an unstable person out of traffic.
Sound isn't good here, but this captures the scene where the black bloc is attempting to sing a song to the motorbike squad that has been observing them.
This doesn't capture the lyrics well, but this is the idea. There was a chorus with two lines of singers.
There were endless numbers of clever signs and subcontingents.
A smaller motorbike line of police was sent to most closely stand and watch the visible anarchist group, and another large group was assigned to stand in a rectangular formation at Fuilton. The other squads of crowd-control officers were kept spaced out in all directions at Grove Street and by the art museum.
There were a lot of nonverbal signals being sent between the antiauthoritarian discussion circle and the police. The was coordinated movement in formations sending a signal of power, and the sitting around and walking half a block sent a signal of 'we don't care'. A few people from one of the two radical pilipino groups started break-dancing in front of a police batallion sent another signal