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Demonstrations continue around the Bay Area in the name of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, with tens of thousands taking to the streets. At protests in the East and South Bay, they have been met almost immediately by police force. Demonstrators say they won’t be stopping despite the risks posed by police attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic because racist police violence, which has long posed a dire health threat, must be countered.
Demonstrations continue around the Bay Area in the name of George Floyd, with tens of thousands taking to the streets. At protests in the East and South Bay, they have been met almost immediately by police force. Demonstrators say they won’t be stopping despite the risks posed by police attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic because racism, which has long posed a dire health threat, must be countered.
Sun May 31 2020 (Updated 06/02/20)
Memorial Day Caravans in San Francisco and San Jose
On a warm Memorial Day with California slightly relaxing its lockdown, a Code Pink caravan of decorated cars delivered an anti-war plea to the steps of Senator Diane Feinstein's Pacific Heights $10 million mansion. Later the same afternoon in San Jose, another peace caravan focused on the demand for human rights to health, housing, education, a living wage and all the components of a dignified life. Those participants delivered money to volunteers at a local homeless encampment. Organizers of both demonstrations said their goal was to counter the usual militaristic Memorial Day rhetoric.
Holding a live model art session, students and senior artists converged on the huge Balboa Reservoir parking lot, across from the Community College of San Francisco, to protest the possible closure of the Fort Mason Arts Campus. This session was one of many protests and actions activists have held to protest CCSF's plans, which include austerity cuts and privatization at the expense of San Francisco seniors and working people.
On May Day, at a housing protest and again at City Hall, San Francisco police wore face masks depicting the "thin blue line" flag. The flag became a popular symbol for racists who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement that emerged in 2014 in response to police shootings. After a flood of complaints about the masks, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he is seeking “neutral” face coverings for the city’s rank and file police.
Sat May 2 2020 (Updated 05/06/20)
Dueling May Day Protests at SF City Hall
A coalition of activists marked May Day with demands to cancel rent, mortgage and utility payments for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic with a car caravan at San Francisco city hall, and also counter-protested against a simultaneous Republican-sponsored demonstration to "open" up the economy. Republicans want to resume economic activity as soon as possible in an attempt to salvage the reelection of Trump, wrapping their intentions in American flags and slogans of "freedom" and "liberty."
Taking inspiration from Oakland's Moms4Housing, ReclaimSF organized to directly meet the real needs of unhoused neighbors and to demand bolder initiatives from elected officials. On May Day 2020, two homeless women occupied a vacant building in San Francisco's Castro District. A few hours later, about twenty-five SFPD officers wearing "Blue Lives Matter" face masks forcibly evicted the building occupiers.
Sat Apr 25 2020 (Updated 05/11/20)
SF May Day Car Caravan
A coalition of organizations is organizing a SF May Day Car Caravan on Friday, May 1 to demand the cancellation of rent, mortgage, and utility payments as well as homes for all and a debt free future for tenants, homeless residents, workers and families. The COVID-19 pandemic has further unveiled the deep inequality in our economic and housing systems. In California, renters make up almost half of the population. 55% of renters are considered cost-burdened, with low-income people and people of color suffering the worst instability.
Thousands of families in the US rely on the income from sex work to survive and have been thrown into a crisis by the coronavirus. Most sex workers are mothers, primarily single mothers. This crisis came on top of a crisis in poverty and homelessness. Much sex work inevitably involves close personal contact so the self-isolation rules and the shelter-in-place order mean that sex workers, like many other workers, can’t work safely. Yet there is still rent to pay and families to feed.
On April 19, San Francisco's Refuse Fascism joined nationwide demonstrations that dumped body bags at Federal locations and Trump properties. People arrived in cars at the Federal building at one o'clock and then laid out "body bags" on the sidewalk. Activists read out their demands. "We recognize the Trump/Pence regime, with its opposition to science and its fascist program now poses an even greater danger to humanity due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
On April 16, the city of San Francisco barricaded the 16th Street/Mission and 24th Street/Mission BART plazas except for walkways into the stations. The walkway at the 24th Street plaza is exactly six feet wide, making it physically impossible for people passing each other to maintain proper physical distance. Neighborhood media reports that the Mission Station Police Captain demanded the closures, leading to a greater police presence and increased harassment of people in the areas adjacent to the shuttered plazas.
While hundreds of advocates have been desperately contacting Mayor London Breed imploring her to place homeless people in hotel rooms and vacant units, it seems she has her own plan for addressing poverty during the pandemic: opening indoor camps to further concentrate vulnerable people. The Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco opened its doors on Thursday and already has dozens of people sleeping inside it.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the nation, activists are demonstrating urgently against the continuing detention of immigrants by ICE. The agency's detention centers are hotbeds for the spread of deadly disease to prisoners and personnel, potentially killing thousands. On March 31, protestors in California did their best to follow shelter-in-place rules by protesting in caravans, and covering their cars with banners and messages for Governor Gavin Newsom.
Mon Mar 30 2020 (Updated 03/31/20)
Instacart Strikers Demand Proper Safety Precautions
On March 30, Instacart workers, known as "Shoppers," disconnected from their app-based gig economy jobs and vowed not to return to work until Instacart meets their demands. The list of demands include safety precautions at no cost to workers, hazard pay, and an extension and expansion of pay for workers impacted by COVID-19. The striking workers state, "They are putting us directly in harm’s way while profiting greatly. We cannot let this be considered normal."
Sun Mar 29 2020 (Updated 04/04/20)
Bay Area Rent Strike
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Tenant and Neighborhood Councils, and other Bay Area folks are producing and sharing information on how to organize a rent strike. They write: We can work together to prevent eviction and foreclosure. We can keep each other housed and fed. We must demand an immediate suspension of rent and mortgage payments for everyone. And if this demand is not met, we must refuse to pay our rents and our mortgages, together.
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