The Return of Occupy SF: Big Day of Protests Planned For Friday
Occupy San Francisco, which was unceremoniously booted from its base at Justin Herman Plaza in December, is planning a day of protests in the Financial District on Friday.
On Wednesday, 10 speakers divulged protest plans at a press conference in front of the Bank of America at California and Kearny streets in San Francisco. They said individuals from more than 50 labor, housing and activist groups under the umbrella name Occupy Wall Street West will deploy from Justin Herman Plaza to participate in a series of actions, ending with a 5 p.m. rally and march to reclaim a foreclosed building in the Financial District. Events include a 6 a.m. “squid fry” at Goldman Sachs, a Bank of America “tour of shame,” a rally at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, and an Iraq Veterans Against the War protest at the downtown office of the Bechtel, a military contractor.
Protesters are also planning a Saturday event to mark the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has opened the door to unrestricted campaign donations from corporations, as well as from labor unions.
Not yet scheduled as of Wednesday was one group’s plan to transform a financial institution into a food bank by collecting non-perishable food items at the bank and donating them to shelters and soup kitchens.
Protesters on Wednesday spoke to the various issues they said were motivating them to take action.
“This day is not just about corporate greed, but how this greed and profit affects people and communities unjustly,” said Lisa Guide of Occupy SF.
“I’m occupying Wall Street West because corporations are profiting off the war at the expense of the 99 percent,” said Jason Matherne, a Navy veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Pilar Schiavo of the California Nurses Association said, “health care has become a booming industry for hospital owners with obscene profits that are camouflaged by the nonprofit status most of these corporations hide under. And the end result is profits reaped that become more important than the needs of patients and the health care of our communities.”
Terence Yancey, a student organizer at San Francisco State, said “I’m occupying Wall Street West because public education in this state is being dismantled in order to give tax breaks and incentives to corporations and millionaires. Students are tired of subsidizing the greed and recklessness of the 1 percent.”
One Occupy SF veteran, Robb Benson, said Friday’s protest had attracted too many outside groups like labor unions, which he characterized as performing a “hostile takeover” of Occupy SF.
“They weren’t camped out, they didn’t go through the hell we went through,” he said.
Here is a list of all the actions planned on Friday.