Sunday, February 06, 2011

2011 San Francisco Egypt protest demonstration rally photos

A rally took place yesterday (February 5) in San Francisco's UN Plaza.  The people there stood in solidarity with the pro-democracy protestors in Tunisia and Egypt.

The United Nations charter was signed in San Francisco in 1945.  The plaza, which is a couple of blocks east of city hall, commemorates the signing.  It is known for two things: 1) as a gathering place for the city's homeless, mentally ill, and drug users and 2) as the starting point of various protests.

The cool thing about the plaza (to me at least) is that it's got these concrete pillars along the perimeter.  The pillars have inscribed on them the members of the UN and the years they became members.  Here is Egypt's, when it was the United Arab Republic with Syria:

Five types of people show up to contemporary San Francisco protests.  The "professional" protestors fall into two categories-- 1) socialists who are great at acquiring sound equipment, making protest signs, and selling Stalinist-style newspapers to unsuspecting and naive college students and 2) anti-war Baby Boomers from Berkeley and Oakland.  These two groups end up at almost every rally, whether it's for tenants rights, legalization of drugs, police brutality, globalization, etc.

There are three other categories of attendees.  A) Semi-professional protestors consisting of college student groups.  B) Regular people who are directly affected by said cause, e.g. in this case, immigrants with families still in Tunisia and Egypt.  C) Gawkers and the curious, like me.

I was afraid that this rally was going to be composed mostly of professional and semi-professional protestors.  I was wrong.  Although they had a heavy presence, there were a lot of Middle Eastern families in attendance.  It definitely made the event more "legitimate", if you know what I mean.
I was really surprised at how so many people were able to find and bring those red Tunisian flags.  A couple of enterprising kids were selling a box full of Egyptian flags.  

Simon Bolivar statue.  Speakers got on the flatbed rental truck in the background to address the crowd.

Those are the pillars with the UN members inscribed on them.

One of the speakers.

During the rally, I walked around a bit.  Here is an Assyrian statue next to the Asian Art Museum.  What is that sticker on the tablet the man is holding?

Only in San Francisco.

This is city hall.  You may remember it from James Bond's A View to A Kill.

Here is coverage of the rally by a local news station.  I left the rally before the two-block march to city hall, but I think the 1,000 people estimate was a bit optimistic.  I'd be surprised if there were more than 500 people.  But then again, I left early.


Unknown said...

The summary of typical protesters in the Bay Area was great.

Numbers, on the other hand: I know these estimates are often suspect, but I think the organizers estimate of 7000 was much closer to the truth than the 1000-2000 numbers that have been bandied around. The day before there were 1700 "confirmed attendees" on facebook. When they read up somethings saying "at least 2000" people I though that was a joke, the crowd seemed about 100 people "wide" at that time.

However many there were, more are needed.

Cairo said...

Has there been any protests planned in SF in response with what happened at Tahrir today? I know in London we have one for tomorrow and Sunday?

Maxichamp said...

@Ash: There will be a protest at the same place tomorrow (Saturday) in San Francisco. The focus will be on Libya but will also include Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, etc. That will be at 1 pm.

The interesting thing is that at noon, there will be a protest a block away to show solidarity for the union members in Wisconsin. It is being put together by Moveon, a well organized political organization. I suspect the two protests will merge into a huge protest.

Check back here tomorrow. I'll post some pictures and share my thoughts. Plus, it might snow in San Francisco for the first time in 35 years!