Chanting slogans such as “We are the 99 percent” and “We got sold out, the banks got a bailout,” the Occupy SF movement clogged the sidewalks and streets of San Francisco with hundreds of marchers Wednesday.
The group of about 600 protesters marched from Occupy SF’s makeshift tent camp in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street to City Hall, through Union Square and then to a Bank of America location. Demonstrators expressed anger at the sour economy, which they say is caused by corporate greed, predatory mortgage lending and the influence of money on political decisions.
The action was part of the national Occupy Wall Street movement that took to the streets of New York City again Wednesday, continuing the much larger actions there that resulted in 700 arrests Saturday on the Brooklyn Bridge. The arrests have now prompted a lawsuit against New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In contrast, marchers on Market Street warmly thanked police, who escorted the protesters through the streets.
“They’re part of the 99 percent, too,” said Allie List, 21, one of the organizers. “We have no problem with the police.”
The group stayed on the sidewalk for most of the 5-mile route. They mostly kept moving, until they came to Wells Fargo and Bank of America locations, where they would stop and chant even louder for a few minutes, and then move on. The protest came to a crescendo at a Bank of America on California Street, where a small band of 10 or so campers began the Occupy SF movement Sept. 17.
Protest organizers working on solar-powered laptops at their tent camp in front of the Federal Reserve were encouraging the crowd to spread information through social media in hopes that the local effort will grow.
“First the camp was a baby, now we’re a teenager, and now the revolution may be ratcheting up a little bit,” said 44-year-old Michael Clift, who slept at the camp despite Tuesday night’s rain.
By Wednesday afternoon, the camp had grown to cover a wider swath of Market Street than the original eight tents, and organizers asked that campers move out from under the awning of the Federal Reserve, the doors of which were being guarded by security officers.
Protest organizers said another protest is set for today, with potentially another on Friday.
They need what?
The Occupy SF organizers have asked for myriad items to be donated for the encampment on Market Street at the Federal Reserve. The following are selected items the protesters are requesting as they protest corporations, among other things.
- A 3G cellphone activated on a plan with tethering capabilities
- BART/Clipper cards
- Office space nearby
- Shipping address
- Bathroom (Bluehouse, Port-a-john, compost toilet)
- Laser printer toner for HP 1200 series
- Fair-trade coffee and good tea
- Fluoride-free toothpaste
- Nonplastic coffee-making equipment
- Solar panel