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In an aggressive move against “Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist,” demonstrators who marched in downtown San Francisco Saturday afternoon, San Francisco police has announced that they believe that many of those arrested are suspected to have been involved similar protests that took place in the Mission District last month.
According to a press release sent to media by SFPD on Sunday evening, police arrested around 20 people Saturday in the protest, which started at Justin Herman Plaza around 3 p.m. Saturday.
According to the release,”a group of approximately 100 persons who identified themselves as members of the Criminal street gang, Black Blok gathered at Justin Herman Plaza.” This, perhaps, refers to “black bloc,” a tactic in which protesters dress alike (frequently in black) and cover their faces in an effort to demonstrate a unified front.
Those arrested included 11 men and nine women, according to Officer Gordon Shyy. SFPD took the unusual step of sending the booking sheets, including mug shots, of all those arrested to media.
Protesters were arrested on charges including conspiracy, riot, refusing to obey a lawful order from a peace officer and resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer, and assault and battery on a peace officer.
One was a San Francisco resident, while the others came from cities including Oakland, Concord, Martinez, Newark, Mount Shasta, La Verne, Long Beach and San Diego. The identities of some of those arrested have not yet been confirmed, Shyy said.
Police responded when the group began to block traffic, and vandalize vehicles and businesses, Shyy said.
Officers arriving on the scene were struck with projectiles including flares and bags of paint containing rocks, and one officer was struck in the head and injured, according to Shyy.
Police ultimately surrounded and detained the group at California and Battery Streets and at Pine and Sansome Streets, Shyy said.
According to a video posted by
independent journalist Steve Rhodes a contributor to Political Fail Blog (that’s their video above), “the police just completely attacked everybody really quick, it was a huge fight.”
According to SFPD, searches of the protestors’ backpacks turned up items including hammers, an ice pick, flares and other weapons and bags of paint containing rocks. SFPD sent photos of the items allegedly confiscated to media, you can view them here.
According to the SFPD release, police believe some of those arrested were also involved in similar events in the Mission District that took place on Sept. 20th and 21st.
SFPD did not give any further explanation for this allegation, nor was any explanation given by the version of a report based on this release published in the San Francisco Chronicle at the publication time of this article. Calls to SFPD from the Appeal have not been returned at publication time.
The Mission protests occurred in response to a non-fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred Sept. 20th around 8 p.m. Protestors marched through the Mission District that night vandalizing banks and other businesses and spray painting slogans on the Mission District Police Station. A similar protest took place the next night, leading to further vandalism.
Mission community members harangued SFPD Chief Greg Suhr at a community meeting days after the marches for what they described as “cops are just standing there” during the demonstrations.