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On October 4, the Trump administration dismissed protests and made a formal decision to open 725,500 acres of public lands and mineral estate across California’s Central Coast and the Bay Area to new oil and gas drilling and fracking. The public lands the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has earmarked for leasing are in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus. The move will end a more than five-year-old moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in the state to oil companies.
Businesses are closed and rail service suspended, as China's Special Administrative Region Hong Kong is in chaos this weekend. A ban on wearing masks, set to take effect October 4, apparently backfired as street violence increased; at least one train was set on fire. The Hong Kong protests have now spread to several large cities in the United States, with hundreds gathering in San Francisco ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Critics say that despite claims in the press about the protesters being advocates of democracy and freedom, demonstrators carrying U.S. flags are asking the ironically tyrannical President Trump to come to their aid.
Trump tried and failed to keep his September 17 Silicon Valley fundraiser location secret, putting out misleading information to get protestors to go to the wrong place or simply give up. Then, he misused secret service and local police to try to block protestors from the only road with access to the Palo Alto Republican fundraiser. Despite his efforts, protesters managed to discover the true location as a home owned by Sun MicroSystems co-founder Scott McNealy and created a spectacle that the presidential motorcade and shuttle buses with rich donors would see.
On September 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution designating the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) a domestic terrorist organization. Supervisor Catherine Stefani said she drafted the resolution in response to the July 28 shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which killed 3 people and wounded 15 others. The NRA retaliated by filing a lawsuit against city and county of San Francisco and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Separately, Bay Area groups for stricter gun laws held rallies in response to the week of mass shootings in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
Thu Sep 5 2019 (Updated 09/30/19)
Global Climate Strike Week of Action
Climate Strikes began on September 20, three days out from the United Nation's climate emergency summit in New York, and continued to September 27. As young climate strikers have shown, there is huge power in sustained action week after week to match the scale of the climate emergency. Millions walked out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and to show politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.
Thu Aug 29 2019 (Updated 09/02/19)
Palantir Headquarters Swarmed Over Contracts with ICE
Angry activists mobilized on August 16, blocking the cafeteria entrance at Palantir Technologies' headquarters in Palo Alto. They were protesting the $20 billion data-mining company's ICE Investigative Case Management contract that enables Immigration and Custom Enforcement to track the every move of undocumented immigrants. After Palantir announced on August 20 that they would be renewing their ICE contract, the Coalition to Close the Concentration Camps Bay Area called for an emergency mass mobilization.
As news continues to pour in that the Trump administration’s attacks against immigrants and refugees has reached new lows, Bay Area residents are feeling a renewed sense of urgency. On the heels of protests throughout the region on July 2 and further official announcements about coming ICE raids, July 12 saw a new round of demonstrations, including protests at the city of San Francisco's Sansome Street ICE facility. In Santa Clara County, the Rapid Response Network (RRN) reported an increase in calls of observed ICE activity, as people are on high alert. Volunteers who document ICE interactions with immigrants have seen their ranks increase quickly.
Plans for a mass roundup of migrant families that have received deportation orders, announced on June 21, set off protests throughout the nation as Americans reacted in horror. Outraged particularly by eye witness reports of mistreatment and deaths of migrant children held in barbarous conditions, everyday citizens joined long-time activists to say "never again" to incarceration based on race or citizenship. People throughout the Bay Area and across the nation demonstrated June 22 through July 5. Indybay has coverage from many of these demos. Another round of protests will start with an international day of action on July 12.
On June 17, at demonstrations that drew up to two million people, protesters in Hong Kong continued demands that the government withdraw an extradition bill they fear would allow people to be sent to the mainland for actions disapproved of by Beijing. Protesters insisted that police be held accountable for brutal tactics at demonstrations held earlier in June as well. In the Bay Area cities of Palo Alto and San Francisco, hundreds demonstrated in solidarity with activists in Hong Kong.
Fri May 10 2019 (Updated 05/12/19)
Protest Pushes Retailer as California Considers Fur Ban
Activists with animal rights groups Direct Action Everywhere and In Defense of Animals staged a visual demonstration against fur at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto on April 28. The “Bloody Fashion Show” included a commentator, models, cages, fake blood, and even a red carpet. After the fashion show, activists entered Nieman Marcus and spoke out about the cruelty behind the fur products being sold there. The action comes on the heels of fur bans in West Hollywood, San Francisco and Los Angeles. A bill to ban fur sales statewide is being considered in the California assembly (AB 44).
The Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Fish Conservancy sued the Trump administration in April for mismanaging West Coast salmon fisheries and harming critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales, a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That orca population has dropped to just 75 individuals, mostly because declining salmon runs have left them without enough to eat. The National Marine Fisheries Service responded by committing to expanded designation of critical habitat off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.
Sun Apr 28 2019 (Updated 05/04/19)
Earth Day in California Site of Creative Protests
A week before Earth Day was not too early for San Francisco activists with Extinction Rebellion who staged direct action designed to draw attention to the planet's peril. On April 15, they led a march and rally, shutting down 7th Street for close to two hours. Elsewhere in California there were Earth Day die-ins, dance demonstrations, and invitations to rethink waste and save trees. In Los Angeles protesters scaled the iconic globe outside Universal Studios; four people were charged with felonies.

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