Police arrest 17 protesters blocking San Francisco
By Aimee Strain, Bay City News Service
March 20, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Seventeen anti-war protesters were
arrested by San Francisco police this morning after blocking an
intersection at Market and Montgomery streets.
Nine females and eight males were taken into custody after they
allegedly stood in the street around 8:15 a.m. today, according
to police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.
Gittens said the protesters were told to not to block the intersection
and were placed under arrest after failing to adhere to the police
orders. It took about 30 minutes before the intersection was cleared.
Members of the group Act Against Torture organized the protest,
which was set to begin at 7 a.m. outside U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's
The protest was scheduled to mark the third anniversary of the
start of the war in Iraq.
According to Berkeley resident Kate Raphael, an organizer with
Act Against Torture, there were about 300 protesters at the demonstration,
many of which were donning orange prison suits to signify "what
this war is doing to us as well as everybody around the world."
When the demonstrators blocking the intersection were arrested,
Raphael said, "it was really kind of chilling in a way to
watch those already in prison suits being led away . . . it really
had the effect we were hoping to have.''
The grassroots group, organized predominantly through word of
mouth, chose to hold its protest in front of Feinstein's office
to make the senator aware of people's feelings of disempowerment
and hope that she "live up to her legislative responsibility
to promote policies of justice and human rights," Raphael
"People aren't quite getting that we really have the obligation
to stop our government from doing what their doing . . . We believe
that people need to do more than just be against it," Raphael
There were minor traffic implications, but traffic was diverted
a block or two in each direction in preparation of the demonstration,
according to Gittens.
The intersection is cleared at this time.
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