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Bikes not Bombs Countdown to M28 -- Another Successful Day!
As the second daily action concludes successfully, optimism for a major protest at Friday's Critical Mass continues to grow.
Today's Bikes not Bombs! demonstration was a joyous and potent reclamation of public space for the purpose of opposing the oil war and the system of automobile dependence which generates the "need" for oil wars.
After days of successful bicycle protests having occurred, and with the the monthly Critical Mass ride where thousands take to the streets coming up this Friday March 28, the media flooded the plaza to cover today's Bikes Not Bombs! demonstration. Today was the second such protest of the week. Riders have called for daily protests until the oil war is brought to a halt.
An organizer climbed upon a platform and addressed the crowd before it left, saying, "Bicyclists have a critical role to play in opposing wars for oil. We represent a peaceful solution to our transportation needs which can eliminate dependence on foreign oil. Moreover, we do not cause death and suffering at home like the private automobile does. How many people know that cars have caused more death than all wars combined, throughout history? The rise of automobile dependence is intimately linked to the rise of the military industrial complex. The automobile as we know it has essentially militarized our public spaces. Cars are the cruise missiles in our own neighborhoods, which generate the launching of cruise missiles into other peoples' neighborhoods. When we fill the streets with bicycles instead of cars, we bring peace to the streets in every way."
The riders, who gather at 5:00 PM at Justin Herman plaza each business day (at Embarcadero BART), and at other times as announced or as serendipitously coalesce, were followed by several police and media helicopters, slow-moving planes, and numerous police motorcycles, vans and cars. Reportedly there was one citation for a red light early on, but by and large the group proceeded unscathed. No arrests or other citations have been reported from the group of 200-300 cyclists who rode today, a group markedly larger than that which succesfully rode yesterday.
Riders avoided freeway onramps and offramps, which usually generate police hysteria.
One gentleman called out to shoppers, "Stop shopping, start living!" Another admonished them in the course of an extended soliloquy that shopping "Can never fill that hole", causing a woman on the ride to burst out laughing.
After the ride, which ranged throughout the financial district, Union Square, China Town, City Hall, points south of Market, and more -- including a screamingly joyous descent through the Stockton Tunnel -- the group decided to disperse and come back the next day for another great ride.
One portion of the group then descended to Market Street where it happened upon an on-foot anti-war march. The marchers, cheering, singing and dancing with great energy, were emboldened by the presence of bicyclists and so took to the streets for a long stretch of Market Street before arriving at Civic Center, despite the tired and distorted urging by the SFPD to get back on the sidewalk.
A flyer inviting people to the ride can be found here:
Video and photos from Monday (yesterday) and Thursday (including the freeway ride!) can be found here, respectively:
See you tomorrow,
Bikes Not Bombs!
p.s. Some members of the Corporate Media have been calling Bikes Not Bombs, "Critical Mass". BNB is a group protesting the war, using Critical Mass-styled tactics plus at times, more disruptive tactics such as die-ins. This Friday's Critical Mass will surely see large numbers of people opposed to the war functioning as Bikes Not Bombs during Critical Mass -- in fact some are already calling for BNB folks to begin riding immediately, and stay mobile while the main mass gathers. But Critical Mass remains a leaderless bike-in phenomenon with no stated ideology (not even "more bike lanes"), although many important messages are implicitly heard. But even pro-war people are known to participate. Critical Mass is a rolling free speech stage. The common denominator is that we RIDE TOGETHER. Gee I feel a Seven Seconds song comin' on...