Hundreds convened at the United Nations Plaza this afternoon to protest the killing of George Floyd and call for an end to police brutality. The nonviolent crowd practiced social distancing — the vast majority wearing face masks — with many protesters still marching through SF.
Last night's protest-turned-riot in Downtown Oakland left SF city officials fearing the worst about today's planned rally (and later march) near City Hall. In anticipation of a less-than-peaceful display, nearby businesses were observed boarding up their windows to prepare for episodes of chaos.
A growing crowd of protesters in front of San Francisco City Hall. No discernible police presence pic.twitter.com/f0dgmSPyJ9— J.K. Dineen (@SFjkdineen) May 30, 2020
Organized on Facebook as the "March Against Police Brutality," 600-plus people RSVP’d and were expected to join at the United Nations Plaza for a nonviolent display come noon. Demonstrators later proceeded to march from there to the steps of City Hall where they stood calmly, listening to speakers as their numbers slowly grew over the course of two hours.
As KPIX notes, a sizable percentage of the group then began moving in an orderly fashion toward Market Street and east toward the Ferry Building, with additional demonstrators joining in along the way, before turning south and walking along the Embarcadero. Eventually, the assembled made their way onto Harrison Street chanting calls like "whose streets? our streets" and "no racist police," where they were met by a police line at the intersection of Harrison and Main streets, swiftly moving to Folsom Street and meeting at the I-80 Fremont Street off-ramp — where they were again met by police presence.
KRON4 reported police blocked protesters from getting on to the Bay Bridge, with the entrance to the bridge secured at First Street; many appeared to either be sitting on the ground or standing peacefully in place.
Though, per Twitter, the group moved on and headed toward Union Square at one point; smaller protesting groups are also now popping up.
A largely nonviolent crowd also gathered at 4th and Bryant streets, and police lines are continuing to form in other parts of downtown as marchers crisscross the area.
Minutes ago, peaceful march with heavy police presence in SoMa, San Francisco. Helicopters, sirens, traffic at a standstill at 5th and Harrison. pic.twitter.com/1BfkKcZdiT— Julie Carpenter, Ph.D. (@jgcarpenter) May 30, 2020
However, KTVU's live-stream on the demonstration recently showed a protester in handcuffs who was quickly escorted into an SFPD vehicle.
This story is evolving quite quickly, and we'll keep you informed with any significant updates.
***Update*** 05/31/2010, 4:54 p.m.
Mayor Breed has called in at least 200 law enforcement officers from California to help enforce curfew tonight; San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott urges people to stay inside tonight or they could face "arrest or citation"; dozens of stores along Market Street and elsewhere in downtown SF were looted (by mostly those who were not apart of Saturday's peaceful protests) last night; Scott added that officers arrested 10 people on felony looting changes Saturday evening; several hundred protestors in SOMA around 7th and Folsom continue marching for justice against George Floyd.
***Update*** 05/31/2020, 12:06 a.m.
Here’s a look at the scene outside the San Francisco Mayor’s apartment. pic.twitter.com/pmgpzGixAj— Lizzie Johnson (@lizziejohnsonnn) May 31, 2020
SFPD has largely cleared Market Street, with lingering crowds active on the sidewalk; an Old Navy was severely vandalized; protesters met outside Mayor Breed's apartment chanting "I can't breathe" while lighting fireworks; the Chronicle is reporting some public safety officers in SF were injured tonight; residents in the Lower-Haight reported seeing and hearing a low-flying helicopter over the area earlier this evening.
***Update*** 05/30/2020, 11:19 p.m.
Mayor London Breed clarifies curfew starts Sunday, not Saturday (today), at 8 p.m. and will continue on into Monday at 5 a.m.; non-protest-related looters break into Sprint store on Market Street; Dolce & Gabanna off Market Street looted by "a lot of white people."
***Update*** 05/30/2020, 10:38 p.m.
There’s been looting and destruction downtown SF tonight, as well as some awful assaults of essential workers. Please stay home, stay out of that area, stay safe. Mayor Breed just held a press conference, it sounds like she is proposing a curfew to be implemented in SF.— Matt Haney (@MattHaneySF) May 31, 2020
BREAKING: Mayor London Breed just announced an 8pm to 5am curfew.— sam lew #FreeThemAll (@samklew) May 31, 2020
Curfews are being implemented across the country — seattle, minneapolis, chicago, la, atlanta, denver & more — to curb uprising against police violence.
Mayor London Breed has set a curfew on our city. 8pm to 5am.— Coalition on Homelessness (@TheCoalitionSF) May 31, 2020
This will result in increased surveillance, targeting & criminalization of unhoused San Franciscans — who are disproportionately black — who have no choice but to sleep on the streets.#JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
Looting continues to grow along Market Street near Westfield Mall and, again, most of the looters appear to not be protesters; fireworks continue to go off in SOMA and the Tenderloin; SFPD officers are using flashbangs to deter protesters away from downtown; Mayor Breed announces an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
***Update*** 05/30/2020, 9:15 p.m.
A Ross in SF is being looted with no police presence; not all on-site looters seem to be a part of the protests.
***Update*** 05/30/2020, 9:02 p.m.
Protesters have entered into the Off Fifth store on Market Street; people were seen leaving with large amounts of clothing and other goods.
San Francisco, Westfield Mall. SFPD officer gets aggressive with/rushes a protester, other officer pulls them back. This accountability among police units is the bare minimum, but more like this can make an instrumental difference. #GeorgeFloydProtests #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/HJpHKU5nmS— Monica Alicia (@ohgeezthatone) May 31, 2020
SFPD has confronted people outside of the Westfield Mall; police line at 5th Street still in place.
***Update*** 05/30/2020, 8:08 p.m.
Protesters have converged near the steps at City Hall, chanting "George Floyd"; SFPD is in riot gear; though the SF police chief banned the use of the “Thin Blue Line” American flag masks, a few officers have been observed wearing the symbol — used by white nationalist groups to stand in support of police and in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement — as pins.
Protest has moved to #SanFrancisco City Hall. Protestors knocked down a barricade, and now cops are holding a line on the steps.— Sasha Perigo (@sashaperigo) May 31, 2020
Blue lives matter masks may have been banned, but I guess pins weren’t. pic.twitter.com/VP4OFA8lyI
Photo: Peter Lawrence Kane