SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A group of protesters scuffled with police and blocked an intersection of San Francisco’s Market Street Sunday, bringing the annual San Francisco Pride Parade to a halt for more than an hour.
About 12 protesters lay down on Market Street, linking their arms covered by protected pipes painted with the rainbow colors, at around 11 a.m. Several other protesters pushed and shoved a contingent of San Francisco police, throwing water bottles at them, as the nearby crowd angrily shouted and jeered at them.
Police took two people into custody during the incident. 21-year-old Taryn Saldivar of Oakland was charged with battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and interfering with a parade route. 27-year-old Kenneth Bilecki of Santa Rosa was charged with resisting arrest and interfering with a parade route.
One officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The Dykes on Bikes contingent was halted at the front of the parade while helicopter video showed police officers handcuffing at least one protester. The protesters were cleared from the street and the parade began moving again at around noon.
The group reportedly was taking the action to protest the corporate involvement in the parade which stirred up controversy in the weeks leading up to the event.
Additionally, the group also said the disruption was being staged to protest police brutality in America. Demonstrators handed out a letter calling for the march to exclude police, saying they didn’t agree with inviting officers to mark the anniversary of a clash with authorities.
A contingent of Google employees petitioned the Pride parade’s board of directors to revoke Google’s sponsorship over what they called harassment and hate speech directed at LGBTQ people on YouTube and other Google platforms.
San Francisco Pride declined to revoke the sponsorship or remove the company from the parade, but Pride officials said the Google critics could protest the company’s policies as part of the parade’s “resistance contingent.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the protesters were chanting “Stonewall was a riot” in reference to the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.
The 49th annual parade had attracted estimated 700,000 people to the streets of San Francisco and politicians including U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Governor and former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and Senator Kamala Harris, who is among the current front runners for the Democratic nomination for president.