These are from Friday, November 28th, 2008 in San Francisco, CA. In particular this was "Black Friday" - the day after Thanksgiving and a huge shopping day and while the terrorist attacks in Mumbai still ongoing. There were several protests scheduled by various groups. I found a couple of them that were close together in time and area that I could spend a couple of hours and see what there is to see.
First off, let's start with the announcement of one of the events - a mixed anti-war event with Iraq Veterans Against the War, World Can't Wait, Food Not Bombs, and probably some other groups in there as well. It's an overly complicated event, so it's basically going to form the structure for our day. It's worth noting that this is basically a traveling act - they've been using this basic script since at least June, 2007 in several cities. It usually gets at least some mainstream media coverage on a slow news day, but neither I nor the people covering it on left-leaning sites could find any San Francisco coverage. I attribute this partially to a lack of interest (if the media covered every protest in SF they'd have no time for anything else) combined with the economy/Black Friday news and the Mumbai terrorist news filling most of the available time.
On the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving, Bay Area Iraq Veterans Against the War will occupy the shopping district of downtown San Francisco.
Operation First Casualty (OFC) is about bringing TRUTH - the first casualty of war - to the people. To make the action a success we need volunteers to pretend to be Iraq citizens suffering under the occupation of U.S. Forces.
Thank you to everyone that met up at Dolores Park today for OFC training. After today we are confident that this OFC will be a major success, keep up that energy for Friday and everything will be fine.
For those who were unable to make today's training you can still take part of the action this Friday. Today's training ensured that enough people would have a good idea if what was going on, that the "untrained" would be able to follow along by watching what was happening to others. We will also have coordinators day-of to answer questions that pop up, and guide people to where they should be.
Please invite your friends, and if you were at the training today fill them in on what they missed.
DETAILED SCHEDULE (closely estimated times)
WHEN / WHERE
10:30am / NW corner of Union Square (at the Heart - look for people in white shirts)
...show up early for breakfast foods and arm band. Must be in uniform to participate; blank white Tshirt. Civilian squads will be placed at their particular locations.
That's enough for now, we'll continue this schedule as we go. Point being this is supposed to be very organized, with a strict timetable, and they had rehearsal the day before. So I need to be at Union Square near the heart (you'll see it later).
I saw this as I got off the subway and elsewhere in the city. You can buy these online - it's supposed to be a reproduction of an actual WWI propaganda poster although I have no idea if that's true.
Unfortunately the protesters weren't the only ones meeting on this corner... there was a walking tour, and maybe a half dozen police. "What? You mean the pigs are on the Internet too? What a buzz kill!"
But there's the heart. The ones with orange would be with World Can't Wait (a front group for the Revolutionary Communist Party). The safety green stripes I'm not sure what their affiliation was, but the safety green hats you'll see later are with a legal organization that keeps an eye on protests - I'm blanking on their name but it doesn't matter. It's the guys with the green hats you see at protests, that's really all there is to say about them. The Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW or perhaps more accurately SHV - Self Hating Vets. They're the modern incarnation of the Vietnam vet version and oddly enough at least one of them was wearing a hat with the Vietnam group's logo).
How nice. This is what happens when I have time to kill - just kind of look for San Francisco stuff.
I thought the combo of the Nike "battle" sign and the hippie sign was interesting.
But wait! It's 11:00
11:00am / Geary side of Union Square
...Mob Freeze to bring attention to the action ~10minutes.
11:00am / Union Square
...Action starts! Groups posted to Cafe, Ice rink, Geary and Powell corner, and St. Francis. Extra squads will be spaced out throughout Union Square.
I would have thought that the action would then start at 11:10 after the mob freeze. As far as I can tell the mob freeze never happened - and frankly I'm not sure 20 people freezing in the hundreds at Union Square would have been noticed, but at 11:01 I saw...
OK, the self hating vets (and frankly nobody there including myself believed they were vets - they kept announcing they were "Vets, not actors" over a loudspeaker and got a lot of heckling back) started "arresting" "civilians". I just want to say that if they put some care into their suplus store run and made sure that some of the pieces matched and had actual US camo patterns and maybe they shaved or something it would look a lot more realistic.
You can see the folks trying to have a bit of early lunch before doing more shopping weren't that impressed.
They then hauled everybody off to a central area.
While the cops looked on.
They lined everybody on up.
While photographing like mad. There were tons of photographers, apparently mostly associated with the various protest groups. If you want to see about a billion pictures of this guy search my site for "Leather Jacket Guy" - he's a regular at any kind of World Can't Wait event.
I'm not going to comment on a lot of shots that are basically portraits. I like being able to share portrait style shots so you can get a sense of their personality but also to pull way back to show the environment - one of the things I love about this format.
It took them a while to really get everybody lined up how they wanted them and I repositioned. Meanwhile the ice skaters kept doing their thing.
And the bagpiper (every corner had somebody playing something).
And oh, look, Frank Chu. He's a local eccentric - you'll see his nonsensical sign in the background of many of these pictures but he's not with the protesters.
Well, maybe switching to this side of the protest wasn't a good idea after all. The one in the middle with the brown sleeves you'll see again later, especially in the video. I think she could be the next Dumpster Muffin if only she had a cute nickname. I'll call her Jo the Plumber.
Go on to page two...
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