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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Anti-War
Iraq Veterans Against the War Detain Suspects in SF's Union Square on Black Friday 2008
As hundreds of shoppers and bargain hunters looked on in disbelief, confusion and a bit of shock, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) on Black Friday, "detained" and manhandled a dozen "suspects" in the vicinity of Union Square in downtown San Francisco.
As crowds of shoppers and ice skaters passed, a squad of camouflaged Iraq vets "detained" "suspects" (i.e. willing participants who had been trained), at two tables at an outdoor cafe in Union Square, in downtown San Francisco. The squad pulled almost a dozen "suspects" from their chairs, put them on the ground, cuffed, then herded the "suspects" to their knees on the grass across the street from Macy's and within viewing distance of Sachs. The squad put black hoods over the heads of their captives while cursing and yelling at them, articulating much anger and contempt. Instead of weapons, the squad held their arms as if holding weapons and, with their fingers pointing straight ahead looked menacing and threatening. Many shoppers had confused and shocked looks on their faces.
After a while, the "suspects" were dragged across several intersections and manhandled to the sidewalk here and there. The destination was the fountain at MLK Park where the "suspects" would be water boarded.
SF cops were not hostile and a squad of motor bike cops flanked the IVAW squad while another, on foot covered their rear, lending a bit more authenticity to the street theater. After departing MLK Park, the IVAW squad cut through Bloomingdale’s to the Market Street side before surrounding and suppressing a group of anti-war demonstrators at the Powell Street cable car turnaround as several hundred shoppers milled about.
Onlookers were aghast. Teens, just wanting to be downtown to score a pair of tight-ass jeans, stood wide-eyed and a bit nervous. One child cried as his mother scurried him away. Tourists stared dumbfounded as a supporter read "These are NOT actors, they are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. What you are seeing here today is not theater in the nations we occupy. . ."
Being that this IS San Francisco, most shoppers were very supportive and seemed to enjoy the brief respite from such hectic shopping. Most respected the action for what it was, then continued shopping.