Man chains himself to Newsom's tree

December 24, 2008 2:17:52 PM PST
A man was taken into custody at City Hall today after he handcuffed himself to the mayor's holiday "Tree of Hope" for nearly an hour.

Aaron Buchbinder, a social worker and student from San Francisco, was detained just before noon by three San Francisco sheriff's deputies who worked for about 15 minutes to break the handcuffs he had used to chain himself to the massive Christmas tree at the top if City Hall's main staircase.

Buchbinder, who was protesting the mayor's proposed midyear budget cuts to social services, sat cross-legged at the foot of the Christmas tree, his right hand linked to the base of the tree, his left hand holding a stocking with the word "Justice" written at the top.

Several couples getting married nearby continued with their ceremonies, using the "Tree of Hope" as a backdrop for photos as deputies struggled with wire-cutters.

Buchbinder was quietly led away after deputies finally managed to cut through his handcuffs and replace them with their own.

An interview with Buchbinder was interrupted by the sheriff's deputies but another protester provided a prepared statement from him.

"We have written letters to the mayor, the governor, and the incoming president," Buchbinder said.

"We had meetings with our elected representatives and proposed alternatives," he said. "We rallied, we marched and we demonstrated that people in this city care about social justice, but our mayor has demonstrated that the needs of the people are not a priority."

The mayor's office did not immediately return calls for comment.


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