The inevitable reaction to the MLK weekend protests from Chronicle curmudgeon C.W. Nevius has arrived, and it is predictably finger-waggy toward the protesters who blocked traffic on the Bay Bridge on Monday and made a lot of drivers unhappy. He does not see the point of this. Also, he thinks Mayor Lee needs to get some balls.
We just heard from Nevius in his column from Saturday running to the defense of embattled police chief Greg Suhr. And he once again is more on the cops' side not an easy one to be on after the awful videos of the killing of Mario Woods, who was armed with a knife and limping, in broad daylight! specifically calling out a broad and (admittedly absurdly) ambitious set of demands put forward by the group responsible for the bridge blocking, the Black Queer Liberation Collective: "the immediate divestment of city funds for policing and investment in sustainable, affordable housing so Black, Brown and Indigenous people can remain in their hometowns of Oakland and San Francisco.” Says Nevius, "Seriously? That’s your plan? To stop funding the police?"
He also points to the fact that protesters at SFO on Sunday who marched through the International Terminal with a list of names people killed by police included Lovelle Mixon, a man who shot and killed four Oakland Police officers in 2009 during a routine traffic stop.
But Nevius's tone, as always, belies a certain cynicism about the act of civil disobedience itself, reducing all these actions as well as the disruption of Lee's inauguration two weeks ago and the heckling that made him surrender the stage at an MLK Day event on Monday to a lot of attention-getting nonsense.
A man did die, and people are allowed to remain upset and disobedient over it.
Nevius urges Lee "to speak up over the shouting, and make it clear he hears the protesters, but won’t tolerate constant harassment." He warns that with the Super Bowl fast approaching, "this is going to get ugly" otherwise, and "it could do so on a national stage." *
In an age when so many of our disruptions are app-based, there's a lot of us who probably wouldn't mind seeing the Super Bowl festivities disrupted in real time, on TV.
* In true Nevius fashion, he was actually saying in a column just two days ago that protests would be fine, as long as they're not violent, and "a lot of the media, who are dying to use all their 'left coast' cliches, will probably be disappointed if there’s isn’t some kind of civil action."