These are from Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 in San Francisco, CA. This was a long-planned protest in response to the anticipated Obama announcement to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. I was curious about their message and turnout and took a look. It's worth noting that they held the protest at a small plaza at the cable car turnaround at Powell and Market (conveniently just above a subway station) rather than at one of the more usual places like the park behind city hall where they would have been dwarfed and isolated. But this means even the organizers knew they wouldn't be able to get many folks out.
First off I just want to give a sense of what it's like to approach one of these things. Here's a guy carrying an anarchist flag.
Well that's good.
Ah, that's more like it.
You see the guy in the window up there? It's actually a store dummy, although later on an organizer was taking pictures from up there, so I guess that's two dummies. Ha! I crack myself up.
I'm not going to comment on every picture. There were maybe 100-200 people there. Not too bad although you need to allow for at least a dozen mainstream media, a dozen photographers with no obvious affiliation, and "hanger on" protesters that weren't on message (more on this later).
Thanks for giving this guy a platform, ABC! (They actually used the footage, too - check out their report - he's at the end of the video. In the "related video" just below the main video they estimate the crowd at 100. Just as a reminder the population of San Francisco city limits is about 700,000 and the bay area is six million. I find it fascinating how much of the coverage was anything but protesters - troops stock footage, congress stock footage, congress interviews... and how they frame the footage to minimize the signs as much as possible.)
Lots of blame the US language. These are people who can use the word "Imperialism" constantly and non-ironically.
The larger signs were all oriented towards Market Street so if it looks like I flipped images - it's not my fault!
This guy's often at this corner. They're actually crashing him.
There was a Spanish-language station there so it made sense to have some signs in Spanish. Note that many of the pre-made signs are laminated for any potential weather and will be used for many protests - they start looking pretty ragged after a while.
They have big stacks of those pre-made signs ready to go as you show up. If you want to blend in, just grab one.
Note there's two 911 truther signs in here. I don't want to go overboard with "Oooh, truthers, they all must be nuts". It's not like the truthers were invited - they just show up wherever there's a crowd. But it's not like they were unwelcome, either.
Likewise, Frank Chu is a beloved local, um, eccentric. And don't ask me to explain why the Free Mumia guys are here. Also note another truther to the right.
The lady in pink was being introduced. I'll put her video on the top of the next page.
Want to hear Code Pink nuttiness and see more pictures? Go to page two.
You can contact me at info (at) ProtestShooter.com