SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced Friday that 80 people are being charged for blocking traffic on the Bay Bridge for nearly four hours in November.
The group was calling for a cease-fire and an end to genocide in Gaza during the November protest.
On Monday morning, hundreds of people filled the steps outside of the Hall of Justice to hold a rally, demanding Jenkins drop the charges against 78 protesters arrested for blocking traffic on the Bay Bridge.
Groups supporting the protesters say 78 of the 80 people charged were active participants in the demonstration. Two were bystanders.
Their identical charges include: failing to obey a lawful order from a uniformed police officer, false imprisonment, unlawful assembly, refusal to disperse at a riot and obstruction of a thoroughfare.
An attorney representing the self-proclaimed "Bay Bridge 78" says she wants to be on the right side of moral history, by supporting, rather than condemning the acts of civil disobedience and calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.
"An act of civil disobedience that creates a disruption that forces people to pay attention and to really examine what their conscience tells them about the us complicity in the murder of individuals in Gaza, is no different than those actions and should not be treated with this criminality," EmilyRose Johns, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild said.
A member of the Palestinian Youth Movement says several of those charged are from his organization.
He says to prosecute all 80 people is a waste of time and taxpayer money.
"These five charges of 80 people is going to be a multimillion dollar expense for the city of San Francisco, while there are people on the streets, people are hungry, people are unhoused," Rami Abdel Karim, a member of the Palestinian Youth Movement said. "And in order to save tax payer dollars in the city of San Francisco, when we're undergoing a budget crisis, to drop all of the charges."
VIDEO: Bay Bridge shutdown brings East Bay traffic to standstill for hours
On Friday, Jenkins released a statement which said in part: "While we must protect avenues for free speech, the exercise of free speech can not compromise public safety. The demonstration on the Bay Bridge that snarled traffic for hours had a tremendous impact on those who were stuck on the bridge and required tremendous public resources to resolve."
The district attorney's office confirmed that another two bystanders were mistakenly taken by officers during the protests on the bridge.
One of them was a mom who got out of her car to document the protest. We spoke to her last month and on Monday, we were told her charges were dropped.
This process could take months and according to one of the lead attorneys representing the group jail time is "unlikely," but based on the charges there is a possibility that some of these protesters could face anywhere between 6 months to a year in jail.
We are told many of them will plead not guilty.
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