Demonstrators Fill Downtown SF In Solidarity With ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Blue tarps and tents pitched on the sidewalk interrupted the usual urban landscape on one block of Market Street Wednesday as a group of people, young and old alike, occupied the space in solidarity with the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

PICTURES: Bay Area Occupy Protests

Protesters associated with the group “Occupy SF” have been camping out in the city’s Financial District for the last couple of weeks. The group staged several demonstrations and events Wednesday, including a midday march through the city’s Civic Center in which some 200 people marched up Polk Street.

At least a hundred people—including some from as far away as Perth and Madrid—milled about the partially canopied sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. Wednesday afternoon.

People ebbed and flowed on the sidewalk, some sitting in a circle in front of the bank’s entrance and others leaning against the stone columns lining the block between Main and Spear streets.

An absence of definite action marked the space in which people freely expressed themselves and simply existed in the spontaneous community. A flautist took a break from playing to converse with a woman holding a bunch of large sunflowers. Someone waved an American flag that was raised upside-down on a staff.

The occupation is being held in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, which describes itself on its website as a “leaderless resistance movement” using nonviolent means to protest the nation’s growing disparities between the rich and poor.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

The site said, “We are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”

Tents underneath the tarps offered medical care and nourishment, the marble edge of a planter serving as the makeshift counter for the kitchen tent, before which was spread a box of breads, butters and hummus.

One man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask—a favorite of anti-BART protestors in recent weeks—walked in no particular direction. Diamond Dave Whitaker, the septuagenarian Mission icon and fixture in the city’s radical movement, mingled in the crowd of mostly twentysomethings.

Someone sat cross-legged directly in front of the entrance and held a sign on which was scrawled “system error.”

Local political stand-up comedian Nato Green, who has been touring the country and participating in political events as part of a documentary-in-progress, said that the amorphous movement is a “breath of fresh air.”

“This kind of event—it’s the new authenticity,” Green said. “Our opinions have been narrowed and we’re so marketed to. This is a genuine expression of people’s frustrations.”

“Conventional rules go out the window in these moments,” he said.

Ryan Thayer, a 26-year-old San Francisco resident, said he was motivated to join Wednesday’s occupation because of the length of the protests on Wall Street.

He said the socially progressive movement needs to happen here.

“If it’s not happening here, it’s not going to happen anywhere.”

Thayer, who graduated from San Francisco State University in 2010 after studying urban planning, recently completed a year of service with AmeriCorps, working as a community organizer in the city’s Excelsior District.

In leading youth in painting murals, he focused on positive change in the diverse neighborhood. He said that the diverse crowd of demonstrators needs to focus on fighting for something rather than fighting against something.

“It’s more important to nurture something,” Thayer said. “Come with some kind of positive force. We’re tapping into an energy source, but it needs guidance.”

Guidance came loosely in the form of a schedule marked on a whiteboard affixed to a lamppost: “11 gather for march; 12 general assembly on march route; 3ish working groups; 6pm general assembly.”

“Don’t fergit yer name tags,” the sign read.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • PLW

    Greed & corruption? Who do these people think runs the Corporations and Banks. The Federal and State Governments do….. The government taxes ,regulates, and oversees the Corporations and Banks and anyone of them breaks the rules or laws, they are out of business and prosecuted per the law…

    Only a handful of cases have been prosecuted, who’s fault is that. Who ruined the American economy, Government Officials STILL have not done anything about that!!!! AMERICA WAKE UP & vote these NIT-WITS out of office in 2012! History has shown SOCIALISM does not work!!!!!!!!!

    • nh2o

      If they’re nit-wits, you’re an ignorant nit-wit. The financial system and it’s corporations dictate to the government how it will be regulated (i.e, congress and the senate) by buying them out. Until we put people in congress who are going to stop taking corporate money and stand up to the one percent, nothing’s ever going to change. If you want to take this even deeper and fix the problem all together, we need to terminate campaign contributions.

  • ALM

    Sorry PLW, but your concept of Socialism is quite skewed.
    Yes the government Bailed out the Banks and Corporations but still there is not even a hint of intention to distribute the wealth in a fair way among us, the people.
    Socialism, on the other hand means, (by definition) social sharing ….

  • SF T Party

    Jail the Wall Street gangsters and all the politicians who aided and abetted their looting of America!

  • dbarco

    This movement is made up of a an interesting soup of groups some of which I would normally not be seen dead with, however as is the case with politics, it makes strange bedfellows. The moneymen who are actively trying to kill unions and throw us back two hundred years need to be stopped. I would like to see more action at the fancy balls and gatherings of the high and mighty.
    They are acting like Royalty in the 1700’s and they need to know that times have changed.

  • Kathy

    We need to kick the Marxists out of the White House so we can get back to business.

    • nh2o

      Oh Kathy, what are you doing in here….? Click the back button and stick to your Fox news.

  • Stacey J. Weinberger

    Kathy you don’t know what you are talking about and are just spouting right-wing talking points. The White House has supported the banks and Wall Street.

  • San Francisco Market Street Protests Flare Up; 1 Arrest « CBS San Francisco

    […] FRANCISCO (KCBS) – At least one person was arrested Thursday morning as protesters continued occupying an area in San Francisco’s Financial District in solidarity with the New York City Wall Street […]

  • Christopher David

    These kinds of protests are good. They give the chronically unemployable something to do.

  • ICU

    Remember the French Revolution, and we could broadcast the executions for profit!

  • Sabu

    They are basically saying, hey stop making so much money and give us some! I agree that Wall Street is out of control and has way too much influence over our country and our lives, but the target of the rage should be the US Government, they are the ones who regulate and enforce all of this. The Democrats and Republicans are OWNED by big money and they need to be removed from office.

    • mlbex

      More like “stop damaging our money when in order to make yours, and compensate us for the damage you’ve done in the past.”

  • mlbex

    Hi everyone: IMHO, we should get rid of one polarity and add another.

    1) Quit dividing the world into conservatives and liberals. It polarizes the discussion. Most people are moderate with slight leanings.

    2) Start dividing the capitalists into those who make money doing something useful, and those who make their money through manipulation. Then you can have a discussion of capitalism that might have a useful conclusion.

  • Chuck Sherman Jr

    Well, if your truly serious about stopping the war on working people, then you’ll vote for whomever is running against Obama in 2012!!!

    • Al Blue

      Only Ron Paul fits that bill. The other GOPers are WORSE than Obama.

  • Bob Benson

    We are allowed to complain and protest on the street all we want, so long as we then go home and pay our taxes and bills. If Washington and Wall Street are to change their profit over people philosophy. We will need a well organized collaborated monetary protest. This will send a clear message to those who will attempt to take advantage of what makes this country great…. The American People.

  • Occupy Wall Street Movement Holding Strong In Bay Area « CBS San Francisco

    […] of San Francisco, and in front of City Hall in San Jose. A march in support of “Occupy SF” drew hundreds to San Francisco’s Financial District on Wednesday afternoon. var videoCanvas = new WNVideoWidget("WNVideoCanvas", […]

  • G. borges

    “I AM IN”, Guys and the election next year, and this greedy wall street group, they sponsor politicians who work for them, the solution that I see is to vote for politicians who do not receive money from the company owners or companies in general. For what the wall street greedy group seek is profit and power, and the politicians and give it to them.

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