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SF Stands Up for Bradley Manning
ON THE DAY OF BRADLEY MANNING’S CONVICTION, PEOPLE TOOK TO THE SREEETS IN SAN FRANCISCO TO PROTEST HIS PUNISHMENT FOR EXPOSING US WAR CRIMES.
San Francisco, July 30- People gathered at 5th and Market at 5 pm on Tuesday, July 30 to protest the conviction of US Army Bradley Manning. The theme of the gathering was “Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime.”
Signs at the gathering near the Powell cable car turnaround read, “Jail the real criminals, free Bradley Manning.” If you needed suggestions as to who those criminals are, the names Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Obama were called out.
One speaker expanded on this point. “Real estate people have stolen millions of peoples home across the country, including in San Francisco,” he said. “When are they going to be put on trial?”
Another speaker said, “The prosecutor at Manning’s trial called him a traitor today. If he is, he’s in good company, like those who made the American Revolution and Malcolm X.”
Shortly thereafter the assembled started marching up Powell Street towards Union Square, chanting “Free Bradley Manning!” An incoming cable car and all other traffic came to a halt.
The lead banner in the procession read, "Stop the Wars, Expose the Lies, Free Bradley Manning, Veterans For Peace.”
Marchers moved into the street, further halting traffic, circling Union Square while chanting, “Whistle blowing is not a crime,” and “We are all Bradley Manning.”
The march stopped in the square at Stockton and Geary for a performance by the Bradley Manning Flash Mob. This dance troupe took a page from Michael Jackson musically and gave a nod to his sister Janet, from her Rhythm Army days, choreographically, to stomp and sway out “They Don’t Really Care About Us” in support of Manning. Protesters and tourists alike cheered.
Then the march took up where it had left off, heading back towards 5th and Market. By this time it was accompanied by a handful of SFPD officers on foot.
After turning left on Powell the group stopped to clog the intersection with O’Farrell to continue to shout its message loud and clear. The police had to turn around impatient drivers, including several stuck in stretch limos.
Back at the cable car turnaround and The Gap, the Bradley Manning Flash Mob gave an encore performance. The foot cops leaned back and took it all in. And they weren't alone.