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Direct Action to Prevent War
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at]
Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
About 60 protesters were arrested in downtown San Francisco on March 14 in direct actions to stop the war before it starts.
Some 60 protesters were arrested the morning of March 14 in downtown San Francisco taking part in an emergency direct action to prevent war in Iraq. For weeks Direct Action to Stop the War ( has been organizing "day-after" actions for the next business day after a war starts, but many felt the need for a "preemptive strike" to stop war before it starts.

Over 200 demonstrators gathered at dawn at the old Pacific Stock Exchange building at Pine and Sansome. Several speakers rallied the crowd, including student, queer, labor, faith, and people of color activists. "We do not support our troops by sending them into the hell of war," said Gulf War veteran Eric Johansen. "We support them by bringing them back home."

"Most of my life I've followed the rules," said Warren Langley, a retired Air Force colonel and former president of the Pacific Stock Exchange ,who said he represented the Establishment. "But this is so important I had to get out of my comfort zone." Langley was among those arrested later in the morning. "There are a lot of people just like me. This is the heart of democracy," he continued. "We're going to make it hurt here" if Bush continues his drive to war.

Some protesters went on to form a blockade outside the financial trading floor, while others blocked the intersection of Bush and Montgomery. About 30 sat down in the street - chanting "We are blocking Bush!" - and were arrested about 8:30am after police gave a dispersal order. In addition to Langley, arrestees included Father Louis Vitale, Sister Bernie Galvin, Mary Bull, and Barry Amundsen, who lost his brother in the 9/11 attacks.

Despite the threatening rain clouds - and with spirits kept high by the Brass Liberation Orchestra - protesters continued down Bush Street to Market. About 5 more were arrested en route when they lied down in the road. On Market Street at the Bush/Battery intersection around 9:30 am, two separate groups of about 15 each blockaded the road and were also arrested and loaded into sheriff's buses.

§The Mourning Mothers
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Mary Bull and Warren Langley block Bush
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Code Pink protester holds the line
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Order to disperse
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Cops surround Bush blockade
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§30 protesters are arrested
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Another arrest
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Blockade on Market Street
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Arrests on Market Street
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM
§Another arrest
by Liz Highleyman (liz [at] Friday Mar 14th, 2003 12:57 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Xylem
Friday Mar 14th, 2003 1:58 PM
I was there -- let's do more!! Nice to have an early morn action then be able to take the rest of the day to do schoolwork or whatever (if you're not sitting in jail, that is..)

by jb
Friday Mar 14th, 2003 4:28 PM
IF you think this"rocked" so hard I've got a great idiea for you... go to Iraq and be a human shield, please... Then we kill two birds with one stone...
by Abel Ashes
Friday Mar 14th, 2003 9:59 PM
The human shields are attempting to prevent the targeting of innocent civilians!
If you are FOR killing innocent civilians (you know little kids and stuff), then sir you are an unbelievably cowardly subhuman worm.Good luck with your pathetic attempts at intellect.The human race deserves better.
by Suzanne de Cornelia
(sm2star [at] Saturday Mar 15th, 2003 1:21 AM
Hail the protesters--true patriots, heroes and humanitarians. Our Founding Fathers warned repeatedly about unjust wars, urged citizens to protest them, and warned against imperialism. Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" speaks eloquently to what we face today.

America should not "preemptively" kill civilians, when the threat of their leader is contained, inspections are working, and real threats abound and will be geometrically increased by this planned massacre of innocents. This an oil war and the whole world knows it. Thank you for personifying the true heart and meaning of America.
by protester
Sunday Mar 16th, 2003 10:19 PM
To Earl Berg, had you have expended the energy to come to the planning meeting the night before, or at least try to understand what we were trying to do, you may not be quite so ill informed. The point of the protest was not to shut down the stock exchange. We knew that many traders got there an hour earlier than we showed up and we knew there were multiple exits. The point was symbolism; that our stock market which represents our economy and our buisness interests is feeding the war machine, and we're not going to stand for it. As for blocking ambulances and firetrucks, to insinuate that was the purpose of the protest is absurd. The cops redirected traffic and emergency vehicles got by just fine. Many people in traffic took the stance "hey, im against the war too but im just a normal guy trying to get to work your beef is not with me." this is complete bullshit. We are all responsible for the deaths of other human beings at the hands of our country and until you do everything in your power to stop it you may as well be for the war. Besides, would you rather be in a traffic jam or "shocked and awed" by a million bombs falling on your house? i thought so.
by Shieldmybody
Tuesday Mar 18th, 2003 7:33 AM
Unfortunately, our human shields in Iraq have been frustrated. Saddam will not let them guard their humanitarian sites; instead, he want them to only station themselves at military sites
by anon
Thursday Mar 20th, 2003 9:37 AM
I’m not sure if the PRIMARY goal of the protesters is to voluntarily get ARRESTED *OR* to SHUT DOWN San Francisco. Getting voluntarily arrested is using up our ‘soldiers’.

If the PRIMARY goal is to shut down S.F., the protesters shouldn’t necessarily be trying to shut down the intersections for long lengths of time, by doing things such as sitting down in the street, linking themselves together, tying themselves up, etc. This may snarl traffic at that point slightly longer, but it means that the people available to block traffic elsewhere get arrested and removed from the protest sooner. We use up ‘soldiers’ for later/continuous actions. The potential long-term effect is to make the protest SHORTER, and to impact other protests later in the day or even the next or later days. Again, it depends on what the primary goal is.

What we should do is move, in larger groups, into the middle of the major intersections but when police start arriving, run away and/or let the police themselves block the intersection, then approach the next target intersection, and regroup to repeat the process. The individual intersections may clear faster, but the process as a whole will go on longer and be more disruptive.

The one situation in which it might make sense to “sit down” in the intersections and submit to voluntary arrest would be if you felt you might only have a small number of participants and wanted to make sure that your small group blocked the intersections as effectively as possible. But with large groups, this strategy seems unnecessary.
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