SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Thousands of people gathered Friday morning in attempt to form a human chain on the sidewalk across the Golden Gate Bridge as a show of unity an hour after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Sausalito-based Bridge Together Golden Gate said the two-hour event beginning at 10 a.m., is not considered a protest, but an expression of unity.
More than 3,000 people showed up, after two months of planning, for the moment of unity. Organizers said it would be the first human chain across the iconic span and beyond.
“This is a collaborative, grassroots, community-based demonstration and performance art piece,” Bridge Together Golden Gate said on its Facebook page.
“I think it’s important it’s a peaceful event. People are going to get out there,” said participant David Revera. “This is a peaceful event. It’s a big event for people and freedom of expression”
At around 11:20 a.m., the Marin County Sheriff’s office tweeted that the crowd had grown to an estimated 2,500 people.
While the plan was to create a human chain extending from Golden Gate Plaza on the San Francisco side of the span to Vista Point on the opposite side, a lower than expected turnout raised questions of whether the chain would be able to stretch the full distance across the bridge.
In the end, the event’s participants filled most of the Golden Gate Bridge but did not stretch fully across the span, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
There were some small gaps including a section near the north end of the bridge. Participants held hands, chanted and moved in a wave formation in several sections, according to the District.
Organizers estimated the total number of people participating at closer to 3,500.
Many participants were wearing purple as a sign of unity and anti-bullying, the organization said.
Organizers established rules that people gathered would not carry signs or banners or do anything that could disrupt traffic on the bridge. Many participants signed waivers promising that they would obey the rules.
Most of the women in attendance said they couldn’t imagine sitting at home watching the inauguration. Images from election night watch parties are still burned in their brains.
“I was having a house party we had a big chocolate cake that said ‘Madam President’ and champagne ready to pop,” said Pattie Ravitz.
The unity chain was their antidote with a positive, fierce, feminine message: that they may have lost the election, but that doesn’t mean they’re going anywhere.
“We’re just not going to take it from him,” said participant Sarah Maurer. “He thinks we were nasty before just wait.”
The Marin Sheriff later tweeted a message of thanks to those who participated for keeping the event safe.
The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District said roads to the bridge are expected to be congested and motorists should expect extended travel times.
Spokespersons for the CHP and the Golden Gate Bridge District said they have been working with organizers for several weeks and plan to facilitate free speech and make sure traffic continues to run smoothly on the bridge.
“We’re really just making sure that everything goes the way it should,” said CHP Officer Andrew Barclay.
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