Protesters in San Francisco took the streets again Sunday afternoon to protest the police killing of George Floyd in a march that started outside City Hall.
A crowd estimated at 3,000, many of them carrying signs, marched down Market Street cheering as a demonstrator with a microphone, called out “Are you ready to take over The City?”
Police presence was heavy with dozens of officers monitoring the crowd that marched peacefully during the afternoon. The protesters, most of them wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic frequently chanted, “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd. ”
Later in the afternoon, as protesters looped back onto Market and California streets, things got momentarily tense as police officers blocked them from entering the street. As some protesters started to approach the line, one demonstrater told the marchers to stop and continue along on the sidewalk as not to antagonize a peaceful protest.
“We’re not here to fuck them up,” he said of the police. “even though we should.”
Sunday’s protest, among many throughout the U.S. and beyond comes a day after protests in The City were followed by looting and vandalism, which prompted Mayor London Breed to announce a curfew that will start 8 p.m. Sunday through 5 a.m. Monday. She also asked the state to send 200 additional law enforcement officials to The City. At one point on Sunday, Breed took a knee in protest of the killing of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer allegedly held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Protestors marching down Market Street now, found some handing out water (and wearing @aratherat masks)
Both feel like this is yet another breaking point but “Doing something works, doing nothing doesnt” pic.twitter.com/DxO82jNkxZ
— Ida Mojadad (@idamoj) May 31, 2020
“It’s too painful. You can’t just kill a human being that way,” said Jesse Sahei, who held a sign reading “We suffered for 400 years. We refused to suffer for 400 more.”
lots of political graffiti to be found pic.twitter.com/OAJh4fOIIQ
— Ida Mojadad (@idamoj) June 1, 2020
Derek Chauvin, who is white, the officer who allegedly killed Floyd, who was black, and three other arresting officers involved in the incident were fired the next day. On Friday, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Protests continued in Minneapolis on Sunday, and in major cities throughout the U.S. and in London and other British communities.
“To me, it’s everyone’s breaking point,” said Chris Jackson, who handed out water to fellow demonstrators. “Doing something works, doing nothing doesn’t.”
Army veteran Scott Kimball served in Iraq and sees parallels to the way police manage cities as an occupying force. He also felt that there were more restrictions to use guns in the army than by domestic officers.
“Police have always been there to enforce the racial hierarchy, to defend capital, and suppress labor,” Kimball said. “The system isn’t broken, it’s working as intended.”
Protesters remarked on the show of force as people try to protect themselves from coronavirus. Fillmore native Breanna Taylor noted that people are also here because they can’t pay rent and that anger at a system, from disparities in health to income, exposed under coronavirus.
“A lot of people had become complacent,” Taylor said. “The government is ignoring us while killing citizens.”
After the curfew began at 8 p.m. on Sunday, police ordered the protesters to leave, and after some verbal protests, the crowd eventually dispersed onto Market Street. A handful of demonstrators tipped over a dumpster and lit a small fire, but as of 9 p.m. the evening was quieter and more peaceful than the night before.
Police said later Sunday night that demonstrations “were overwhelmingly orderly and peaceful today, and SFPD officers were proud to help facilitate these in a way that protected the First Amendment rights and safety of all who took part.”
The vast majority of demonstrators dispersed without incident before the curfew hour but a relatively small number of “defiant individuals refused to comply,” police said. Shortly after 8:00 p.m., SPFD issued a dispersal order to an unlawful assembly in the Civic Center area, which was met with defiance, thrown bottles, and trash fires, police said.
SFPD made approximately 80 arrests in the Market Street, SOMA and Union Square areas for violations of the curfew order or looting. Some of these arrests resulted in the seizure of a firearm and explosives. “We will continue making arrests throughout the night wherever we are unable to gain compliance voluntarily.”
Police added they were grateful ” to the overwhelming majority of San Franciscans who’ve abided by the curfew order and in doing so greatly aided our ability to keep our City safe.”