(BrightPress.org) – Eighty-one people were busted for blocking traffic during a protest on the Bay Bridge into San Francisco during the early morning rush hour on Thursday, November 16th. The protest was calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. They began blocking westbound traffic into the city just before 8 a.m.
The protesters tied themselves together using chains and had a mock ‘die in’ where a few of them laid down on the ground covered with a white sheet with “Stop the genocide” written on it.
California Highway Patrol broke it up after declaring the gathering unlawful. They used zip ties to bind the activists before loading them onto buses to be processed. California Highway Patrol Chief Ezery Beauchamp said they 100 percent support the right of individuals to protest; however, he suggested blocking traffic was the wrong way to go about it. He said it was illegal and unacceptable to protest in this manner.
The protest coincided with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, where President Joe Biden was engaged in face-to-face meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and others.
There were numerous protests in and around the city on Wednesday, the day prior. USA Today described them as “hundreds of protesters” who were involved in a range of issues, from generalized anti-China sentiments to folks who took issue with U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
The blockade on the Bay Bridge was organized by multiple organizations including the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC). In multiple posts on X, AROC advertised the protest as being in defense of Palestinian freedom. They indicated that they had timed the event to coincide with Biden’s trip to the city for the summit.
AROC took jabs at President Biden, commenting that he was “hosting cocktail parties” while there was mass murder happening in Gaza.
California Department of Transportation spokesman Bart Ney speaking with KTVU-TV said that the disruption will cause delays all day long. Westbound traffic was able to resume by noon after the protesters were cleared.
Copyright 2023, BrightPress.org