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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.
The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Bureau of Land Management over its refusal to provide public records of its plans new oil drilling and fracking along California’s Central Coast and in the Bay Area. The BLM has yet to publicly release the final plans, but earmarked for leasing are lands in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties. The Trump administration’s plans would end a six-year moratorium on leasing federal public land and mineral estate in California to oil companies.
On March 18, climate activists targeted the nation's fourth largest bank for protest, just in time to crash its annual founding day celebration. They seized the entire block of California Street between Montgomery and Sansome for three hours, shutting down a major entrance at Wells Fargo headquarters during that time. The action was the culmination of the March for Fossil Fuel Freedom that started in Palo Alto days earlier, a trek of hundreds forming a human billboard to demand Wells Fargo stop funding the fossil-fuel industry.
The District Attorney of San Mateo County announced on March 1 that he found four deputy sheriffs and a sheriff’s sergeant did not violate the California penal code when they killed Chinedu Okobi with tasers on October 13, 2018. This is despite the fact that the coroner classified the death as a homicide. Civil-rights attorney John Burris, who represents the Okobi family, said that law enforcement actions needlessly escalated after their loved one committed only a minor infraction.
Thu Feb 14 2019 (Updated 02/16/19)
Taser Opponents Jeer Axon's Racist Slide Presentation
Three men of color were murdered by law enforcement using tasers in San Mateo County in 2018. On February 11, taser manufacturer Axon headlined a study session convened by the Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County. Nearly 200 opponents of tasers rallied in front of the Hall of Justice before attending the hearing. Jeers rang out during Axon's presentation, especially when the company showed photos of a black man grimacing as he was tased.
Mon Jan 28 2019 (Updated 02/06/19)
Protesters Demand Justice for Chinedu Okobi
Chinedu Okobi was the third man to die after being tased by law enforcement in San Mateo County in 2018. He was unarmed and walking with shopping bags in Millbrae in October when five sheriff's deputies attacked him. More than two dozen people protested his murder in the District Attorney's office on January 23, then went to the county Sheriff’s office and the county Board of Supervisors to demand answers of the President of the Board and County Manager.
On January 19, at women's marches throughout the Bay Area, the focus was on unity rather than the rift in the national group. Optimism was abundant despite a slight decrease in attendance over last year. The marches were not without critics who cited a lack of attention to the plight of the underhoused and other issues effecting women. Unlike the city of New York where there were two separate marches, however, a spirit of solidarity ruled the day.
Mon Jan 21 2019 (Updated 01/24/19)
Reclaiming King's Radical Legacy
For the 5th year running, the Anti Police-Terror Project called Bay Area residents into the streets for the People’s March to Reclaim Martin Luther King Jr’s Radical Legacy. In Oakland, events ran from 8am to 8pm. San Francisco marched in honor of MLK and several labor unions spoke out against outsourcing and privatization. Fresno and Santa Cruz also marched. Other events were held in cities across Northern California.
The polling place at the Unitarian Universalist church was eliminated in November because of a “Black Lives Matter” sign. It was moved to the Cross City evangelical Christian mega church with three huge crosses out front. The 25,000 students of CSU-Fresno do not have a polling place on campus. Two thirds of the 3,000 inmates at the Fresno County Jail have not been convicted of a crime, yet are not provided a polling booth either.

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