The political theater on both sides continues today as five activists who have been on hunger strike outside Mission Police Station for nearly two weeks led a procession of protesters to City Hall today to demand a meeting with Mayor Ed Lee at which they will be demanding the termination or resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr. All five were in wheelchairs and were pushed by people wearing white lab coats who may or may not be medical professionals. One of the leaders of what are now being called the Frisco Five, the local rapper known as Equipto, tells Mission Local, "We are going there in wheelchairs to preserve our strength because we know that whether or not the meeting happens, the strike will continue."
As you surely know, this all goes back to the recent fatal shootings by police of Luis Gongora and Mario Woods, both of whom were armed with knives and neither of whom were, arguably, presenting real threats to the lives of the officers who shot them, though the official SFPD narrative continues to insist that they were. The protesters are also citing the 2014 killing of Alex Nieto for which the officers involved were recently acquitted and the 2015 death of Amilcar Perez Lopez.
Equipto, whose given name is Ilych Sato, says the hunger strike was inspired by his mother, herself a community activist, 66-year-old Maria Cristina Guiterrez. Guiterrez addressed the assembled crowd today before the march saying, "We still believe that it’s possible to meet with Mayor Lee. Your strengths has made us be able to go without eating. We are cleaning ourselves of the dirt and hate they have put on our community to murder our children."
Yesterday, the mayor attempted to head off today's demonstration by staging some theater of his own, arriving unannounced at Mission Station and posing for what appears to be a staged photo in front of five empty chairs, published today in a column by C.W. Nevius in the Chronicle. The narrative, which of course Nevius ran with gladly, is that the protesters have already gotten what they wanted a promise for broad police reforms and that they stubbornly refused even to sit down with the mayor after he came to them. Also, the five are referred to as "antipolice activists."
Antipolice activists won’t take ‘yes’ for an answer. via @cwnevius https://t.co/n0bqmWPG44 pic.twitter.com/edatwQdzLj— SFChronicle (@sfchronicle) May 3, 2016
Alerts have gone out via AlertSF to avoid the area of Van Ness, Market, and Civic Center as the march, which numbers in the hundreds, reached the area by 2 p.m. today and snarled traffic. A gathering appears to have stopped at the Van Ness intersection for a rally.
Below, some video from Mission Local's Twitter.
Update: The mayor was away from City Hall, allegedly, at the time of the protesters' arrival, at a meeting in the Bayview. As you can see in tweets below, protesters then decided to storm the Board of Supervisors' meeting chamber.
"This is about love and unity. We are not coming from a place of anger" said organizer Yayne Abeba #Frisco5 pic.twitter.com/MRbs68Y1mQ— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
Hundreds chant "no justice no peace" in support of #Frisco5. Protesters now marching to City Hall pic.twitter.com/CKb8a0LsRW— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
Strikers marching down Mission st to 16th, protesters formed a circle around them and are holding hands. #Frisco5 pic.twitter.com/RHTAPfsbql— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
"They have to hear us." #Frisco5 #hungerforjusticesf pic.twitter.com/hmfL68XOOt— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
#Frisco5 #hungerforjusticesf forming walkway to city hall for hunger strikers pic.twitter.com/2uEfJQGAQf— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
Xiomara of The People's Tree sings for change at intersection of Market/South Van Ness #Frisco5 #hungerforjusticesf pic.twitter.com/SGRElUQWux— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
With hunger strikers inside, supporters wait outside City Hall pic.twitter.com/wRQ1NrpJFc— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
Exhausted, #frisco5 wait outside of mayor's office, but rep said mayor is in the Bayview. #hungerforjusticesf pic.twitter.com/o03BMwDM5Q— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
#Frisco5 #hungerforjusticesf strikers interrupt Board of Supervisors meeting at #SF city hall pic.twitter.com/1rEYOiux6a— Mission Local (@MLNow) May 3, 2016
Previously: Hunger Strike Grows Outside Mission Police Station Calling For Chief Suhr's Resignation
Mayor Lee Attempts To Visit Hunger Strikers Ahead Of Planned Event, They Refuse