From climate change to war, officials ready to expect many protests during APEC in San Francisco

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Friday, November 10, 2023
Officials ready to expect many protests during APEC in SF
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Dozens of protests are expected to break out during APEC in San Francisco. Some have already taken place.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Climate change, two overseas wars and questionable human rights records are all reasons why you could expect dozens of protests to break out during APEC. Some have already begun.

"We want to have a livable future," said Will Wiltschko, leader of a group protesting about climate change. "I think we have an obligation, because it is such a big conference and so many countries are represented, to make sure the voices of people who are not part of this process are heard."

San Francisco has always been a city active in world events. From the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, to even a few years ago during the Black Lives Matter movement, San Franciscans are never shy about demonstrating on city streets. In 2008, a group hung "Free Tibet" banners over the Golden Gate Bridge while the Olympic torch for the Beijing games stopped in San Francisco.

MORE: Thousands rally in SF during international protest supporting Palestinians

Thousands gathered Saturday in front of San Francisco City Hall, joining an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"It was a very adrenaline-filled day that we had been preparing for many months," said Laurel Sutherlin, one of the activists who raised a banner. "We have to be very creative, as social and environmental movements, to take advantage of the times and the places that we can force ourselves into the conversation and makes our demands be heard."

APEC is set to be the largest gathering of CEOs, country leaders and diplomats to come to San Francisco in decades. They will discuss world trade and Wiltschko and Sutherlin think this is the perfect time to show those leaders about the things they want done.

"People will be mobilizing in the streets and calling for an end to the climate crisis," Sutherlin said. "Forcing these leaders to address the human rights violations they are responsible for."

RELATED: 2023 APEC summit: Everything to know about San Francisco road closures, security and more

San Francisco city leaders are expecting many demonstrations.

"This city knows how to facilitate First Amendment activity," said Police Chief Bill Scott. "We do it time and time again. We respect people's First Amendment rights, but we will not tolerate violence, and we will not tolerate property disruption."


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