Hundreds of protesters marched through South of Market on Thursday morning, shutting down traffic as they moved toward the Moscone Convention Center to demonstrate against Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit.
The protesters gathered outside the conference at Third and Howard streets to urge the governor and world leaders to do more to protect the environment. They called on Brown to stop issuing permits for oil drilling in California and to create buffer zones between drilling sites and communities.
Brown held the conference in SoMa to organize global leaders around climate change.
The demonstrators attempted to shut down entrances to the conference, forcing attendees to walk around the building trying to find another way in. Police officers tried to escort attendees through as protesters rushed the entrances.
Several protesters said they were prepared to be arrested, if necessary.
Gustavo Aguirre, from the Central California Environmental Justice Network in Bakersfield, said making progress on climate change will take people both inside and outside the conference, and he doesn’t begrudge anyone for attending.
“We have people that are in government who will help us out and be voices for progress,” Aguirre said. “And we need people in the streets who call people to action.”
“Being out here is cool, but do you think people in there who are the decision makers are really listening?” he added. “We need people inside to challenge and pose those questions.”
Sandra Genee, an attendee of the conference representing the Gold Standard Foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland, said she had been waiting outside for more than an hour trying to find a way inside, but had no animosity against the protesters.
“We are all fighting the same fight,” she said. “We’re all trying to come to solutions and really tackle climate change. That includes action from everyone.”
Updated 2:30 p.m.:
Police announced two people were arrested in connection with the protests Thursday. A 19-year-old man from San Diego was charged with misdemeanors including refusing to comply with a lawful order of a peace officer, and obstructing or delaying a peace officer. A 29-year-old man from San Francisco was also charged with a misdemeanor offense of trespassing. Both men were issued citations and released, police said.