Israel-Lebanon conflict draws 10,000 protesters
to San Francisco
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
Photos by Sean Posey
and Luke Thomas
August 13, 2006
San Francisco police made only one minor arrest as thousands
converged upon the Civic Center this morning to voice their opinions
on the conflict in Israel and Lebanon.
According to police, dozens of officers from the Northern station,
many working overtime, were on hand to make sure the demonstration
did not escalate into a physical altercation.
Members of Act Now to Stop War & End Racism and other groups
originally organized the demonstration, which also took place
in cities such as Los Angeles and Washington D.C., to oppose Israeli
aggression and U.S. involvement in the Middle East.
Members of a counter-protest group called Stand With Us/San Francisco
Voice for Israel also showed up to condemn Hezbollah attacks on
Israeli civilians and to assert Israel's right to defend itself.
The demonstrations lasted over four hours and led to minor traffic
delays throughout the city as protesters began a march that would
snake through downtown streets and eventually back to the Civic
Demonstrators began around 10:30 a.m. with speeches and chants.
"It is critical that the people of the United States --
the country that is providing the bombs falling on our brothers
and sisters in Lebanon and Palestine -- have joined in mass demonstration
activity to make it clear to this government that it cannot continue
its brutal path of war and conquest," said Richard Becker,
the western regional coordinator for Act Now to Stop War &
Mike Harris, a spokesman for Stand With Us/San Francisco Voice
for Israel said about 500 people from his organization came out
to counter demonstrate against around 2,000 protesters.
"We were there to stand up for Israel's right to exist in
peace, with secure borders and free from threats of destruction,"
Harris said that while demonstrations in the past have escalated
to violence, yesterday's event was relatively peaceful.
According to protest organizers, over 10,000 people took part
in yesterday's demonstration, which ended around 3 p.m.
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