Occupy SF jams up Union Square to protest Black Friday

On the busiest shopping day of the year, Occupy SF protesters are trying to shop-block consumers from buying gifts in Union Square.

For a while, dozens of demonstrators sat in the middle of the intersection at Geary and Stockton streets, blocking traffic. But after police created a barricade around the intersection, the protesters got up and started doing laps around Union Square as hundreds of curious shoppers looked on. They later went and sat in the intersection at Geary and Post streets.

Later in the afternoon, some of the participants in what protesters called “Don't Buy Anything Day” sat down in the middle of Market Street, San Francisco's main thoroughfare, and blocked traffic while chanting, “Stop shopping and join us!”

Muni used bus shuttles on the Powell Street cable car line and the F-Market streetcar line to move passengers around the blocked streets, according to the transit agency.

The protesters are calling attention to what they consider the excesses of American consumer culture on Black Friday. They are calling on people to make their own Christmas gifts this year.

The Occupy protests coincided with other annual demonstrations that are held in Union Square.

In Defense of Animals, an animal rights organization, greeted visitors to the square with signs and banners declaring today to be “No Fur Friday.” Group members ressed in bloody-looking body suits, formed a grisly tableaux representing a pile of skinned animals and urged shoppers to leave the furs on the rack.

Elsewhere on the square, the sound of solemn drums heralded a march by the Bay Area Women in Black, a group opposing the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The group marched in silence and carried signs reading “No war in my name.”

Wire services contributed to this report.

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