ICE protestors converge in SF

October 31, 2008 6:18:45 PM PDT
A loud, disruptive demonstration against immigration raids ended on Friday night. It started in the East Bay, with a ruckus on BART.The group then blocked the San Francisco office of ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. Police from the Department of Homeland Security kept an eye on about 100 protesters who chained themselves outside the building late on Friday afternoon; six hours after the demonstration began.

Protesters made it across the Bay Bridge on BART, and officials had to shut down several East Bay stations including Oakland's Fruitvale.

"These protesters were jumping the fare gates initially around 9:15 this morning at the Richmond BART station getting on trains being rowdy, disrupting the lives of our other customers our fare paying customers," said BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson.

"I've come here to get on BART to get to Marin because my mother is in the hospital and has an emergency," said BART customer Lisa Roellig.

Still, Roellig was sympathetic toward the protesters.

A video was given to ABC7 News by one of the protesters. it showed BART police detaining three people.

Jennifer Flores made it through and admits not paying.

"We were going through the side door, yes," said Flores.

"Where you paying of not?" asked ABC7's Lyanne Melendez.

"No," said Flores.

"No Paying?" asked Melendez.

"No," said Flores.

Those who made it across gathered at the Embarcadero to begin a day-long protest which took them to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Building (ICE) on Sansome Street.

"This is a human rights abuse. Our people are forced to migrate here and they are being criminalized for it," said protester Natalia Garcia.

Protesters demanded an end to the ICE raids and detention centers closed.

Last Wednesday ICE agents conducted several raids in San Francisco, South San Francisco and Richmond targeting members of the notorious street gang MS-13.

Protesters say others were caught in those raids.

"But they are not stopping there they are going way beyond that and profiling communities of color," said protester Terence Valen.

An ICE spokesperson said those in this country with deportation orders are violating the federal law.

At around 2:00 p.m. about a dozen protesters linked themselves together blocking a detention center.

"What we are doing is shutting down ICE with our bodies. We are blocking a major entrance where the vans go in and out," said protester Inez Sunwoo.

While they were there, no immigration vans were able to get through.

The protestors called it quits at around 6:00 on Friday night and Sansome Street between Jackson and Washington is re-opened. As they were leaving protesters said it was a victory for them and promised to come back.


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