Within days of Tristan Anderson’s critical injury in Palestine on March 13, people were protesting Israel’s brutal policies on the streets of Tel Aviv, Chicago, New York, Miami, New Haven, London and in San Francisco. A large and spirited demonstration and march in SF on March 16 to show solidarity with Tristan and Palestine was pulled together in just a few hours after a meeting over the weekend at the SF Anarchist Book Fair.
Tristan’s almost two decades of intense activism on a diverse variety of issues meant that a broad cross-section of people in the bay area activist scene turned out for the march. This made for quite a festive presence in the heart of downtown San Francisco as black flags, large banners, a marching band and anti-state chants flooded the grid locked rush-hour streets. While the protest was for Tristan and Palestinian solidarity, there were connections made to other aspects of systemic oppression, such as police brutality, state repression, and nation-state borders.
The march made its way from the Israeli consulate on Montgomery Street through downtown, eventually seizing a major intersection on Market Street leading to a brief standoff with police. The march continued on Market until a splinter group broke away and managed to lose the main march’s heavy police escort by running up Montgomery Street into oncoming traffic — back to the consulate. A few ninja-like participants used the cars as their spring boards and leapt on ahead.
After some marchers reached the consulate, the situation seemed calm — the protest was winding down and people were dancing, drumming or drifting away — until a strike team of police arrived and entered the crowd to make an arrest. They forcefully grabbed a woman who began to scream, causing a larger mob of police to advance on the with riot batons swinging wildly. One protestor was clubbed in the head, resulting in a trip to the hospital with an injury that required nine staples. People were shoved, punched, hit with batons and ultimately there were eight arrests. The police charged four people with felonies on a range of bogus charges.
It is sadly ironic that a protest over the horrific state violence visited upon Tristan and Palestinians would itself be subjugated to a smaller dose of police brutality. It is evident that police violence is growing, and is everywhere. For Tristan, Oscar Grant, and so many others: Fuck the Police.