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(en) US, Black bloc disrupts downtown San Francisco while peace march devolves into mass tabling March 20, 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 21 Mar 2004 10:32:28 +0100 (CET)

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Infoshop News - (San Francisco) Over 30,000 people turned out
today for anti-war events and actions in downtown San Francisco.
The permitted march started at Dolores Park in the Mission and
wound through streets before finally converging on the Civic
Center Plaza for a mass display of boring speeches and mass leftist
flea market. If the ineffectiveness of ANSWER was evident today,
the peace and anti-war movements showed plenty of spirit and
energy today in doing their own thing. The permitted march was
full of color, music, bands, and lots of signs condemning the
occupation of Iraq and the Bush administration.

The march ended in the Civic Center Plaza, the traditional venue
for mass anti-war rallies in San Francisco. As two police
helicopters roared overhead, thousands of protesters filed into the
square, where dozens of tables and booths met them. The
atmosphere was more like a large leftist flea market than similar
rallies this reporter has attended.

While speakers took the stage, a large crowd formed on the
outside where people were drumming. The Infernal Noise Brigade
band played tunes. During all of this the black bloc breakaway
march formed up. The bloc numbered at least 500 people and
started marching through the streets of the Tenderloin District.
After about 15 minutes of marching in the streets, the bloc
intersected with Market Street (between 5th and 6th streets). The
bloc was stopped by the police and the police announced that the
march was unpermitted. They ordered everybody off the street.
While some people moved to the sidewalks, most of the crowd
remained on the street in defiance of the police order violating
their rights.

The police formed a riot line and started moving against the
penned in bloc. At this point the black bloc charged up the street
against the police lines and quickly overan the skimpy line of riot
cops. More riots showed up and started using batons on protesters.
The police eventually surrounded about half of the bloc and the
sidewalks and streets were filled with other protesters who refused
to leave the scene.

Over the next two hours, small bands of black bloc protesters
roamed around the nearby sidestrets, causing the police to send
riot squads after them. The black bloc and police activities snarled
traffic and transit downtown for several hours.

There have been numerous reports of protesters beat up by riot
police. This reporter at one point saw a police officer assault a guy
with a video camera.

Check out San Francisco Indymedia for more details concerning
arrests and jail solidarity.

-- Chuck0 posted on infoshop.org

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