Muni buses headed downtown were being turned back at Sixth Street and traffic was generally becoming extremely clogged Wednesday morning due to protesters attempting to disrupt the beginning of the APEC CEO summit and the leaders' summit.
Anyone needing to get downtown was being advised to take Muni underground trains Wednesday morning, as the above-ground situation was growing increasingly chaotic. Protesters who began gathering at Powell and Market streets at 7 a.m. Wednesday moved toward Fifth and Mission streets, where they blocked one of the main open traffic arteries just outside the APEC security zone.
As the Chronicle reports, much of the action Wednesday is centered outside the newspaper's headquarters, and some summit attendees were requiring police assistance to get through the crowd and reach the entrance gates to the security zone.
Around 100 protesters remained in the intersection at Fifth and Mission, some holding a banner that said "War Criminals Out of SF," and some getting into tense confrontations with men and women trying to walk toward the convention center area. The New York Times has footage of one woman being pushed by protesters and turned back, and she was then assisted by SFPD officers and redirected to another entrance.
Hundreds of protesters are gathered on Fifth and Mission Streets to shut down the APEC CEO summit. Already they’ve tried blocking several people attending the summit from entering the security zone. Follow more via @sfchronicle pic.twitter.com/JeK7G71brQ— Aldo Toledo (@aldot29) November 15, 2023
APEC attendee after protestor (in pink) tried to stop him from entering the Moscone Center: “Just another day in San Francisco. I went to college here. It hasn’t changed much.” pic.twitter.com/m7cVVbSF0D— Bob Redell (@BobNBC) November 15, 2023
The APEC CEO Summit kicked off Wednesday morning at the Moscone Center, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi are all scheduled to speak a the event.
The Chronicle reported that a separate protest was occurring outside the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Nob Hill because that is where Filipino President Bongbong Marcos is staying.
The protests echo similar ones that have occurred around international trade summits in the U.S. and abroad over the last two decades.
The SFMTA was instituting a number of temporary switchbacks on bus routes that involve Market Street, due to the protests.
ATTN: Market St. Reroute Thread.— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) November 15, 2023
Due to protests on Market St. the following reroutes & switchbacks are implemented for east/west routes:
- IB #FMarket switchback @ Market/6th.
- OB switchback @ Ferry Bldg.
- IB 5/5R switchback @ McAllister/Jones. (1/)
Earlier Wednesday, traffic had been extremely slow getting onto the Bay Bridge westbound in the East Bay, complicated by an accident on I-80 in Emeryville, and by the closure of the right-hand lane due to APEC security. As reported Tuesday, the northernmost lanes of both decks of the Bay Bridge are closed to traffic in order to allow emergency vehicles through during the APEC summit. Also, some on- and off-ramps in the area are blocked as well.
As all this is happening in San Francisco, protesters of various stripes were lining a road near the Filoli estate in Woodside, where President Biden and President Xi are meeting this morning. As KRON4 reports, some of those gathered were waving Chinese flags and greeting Xi, while others were calling him a terrorist and one held a poster that said "Go Back to Hell Xi and CCP." Falun Gong protesters were also reportedly gathered to greet Biden's motorcade.
Southbound 280 was closed Wednesday for President Biden's motorcade to pass through.