Left-leaning protesters arrived en masse at Cliff's Variety in the Castro on Christmas Eve to protest the selling of Sodastream. Why? Well, according to Who Profits, the company that makes ordinary tap water delightfully fizzy takes advantage of industrial production in illegal West Bank settlements. (Et tu, Sodastream?) A group of citizens gathered at the local variety store on Monday to hold a caroling protest.
That's when things turned ugly.
The holiday carolers cum trespassing activists (predominately older women) went into Cliff's Variety and started a peaceful protest a la Target. After they began to sing, management soon asked the protesters to leave. Said protesters didn't leave, things then turned loud and physical. "They grabbed, shoved, pushed and dragged people out of the store. An employee twice grabbed my cell phone from my hand, cutting my hand in the process," alleges MayaMediated who shot the video above.
SFist talked to Cliff's Variety manager Martha Asten on Thursday morning. When asked to give us the store's side of the story, she told us, "This group has been protesting Sodastream for years now at Cliff's. On Christmas Eve, they came into the store unannounced and uninvited, straggling in and collected near the Sodastream and announced who they are." Typically the group targets the store on Saturdays or Sundays and it's usually done outside. Christmas Eve, however, was different. "I came downstairs and I had to shout because I could not be heard over them. I asked them to leave and I called the cops. At which point things escalated and they put cameras in my employees' faces," Asten explaining, going on to allege that one of the protesters even tried to sink his teeth into an employee. "The guy with the purple hair [seen in the video] tried to bite my employee," she said.
As the protesters were being escorted out, according to Asten, "[a] lot of cutomers were being pushed out of the way" and "the protesters even knocked down the Toys for Tots toy barrel." And although the protesters refused medical attention when police arrived, several of them filed assault charges against Cliff employees.
In response, a vigil (because of course) will be held on Friday afternoon to protest Sodastream at Cliff's. In the end, though, it's refreshing to see people in the Castro are getting riled up over something other than visible penis.
[via Lil Miss Hot Mess]