Vaccine mandate protesters on Golden Gate Bridge didn't have a permit, officials say

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There's new information about Thursday's protest at the Golden Gate Bridge. Five people including two CHP officers and three Golden Gate Bridge District employees were injured when a private street sweeping vehicle collided with a Ford Explorer. The CHP had closed a lane of traffic to keep protesters from entering the roadway.

RELATED: Golden Gate Bridge protest triggers traffic nightmare

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District says hundreds of protesters gathered Thursday opposed to vaccine mandates did not have a permit to protest at the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Unfortunately they did not respond to our outreach and so we had to put together our safety plan with our law enforcement partners without cooperation from event organizers," said Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District Spokesperson Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz.

That safety plan according to the bridge district spokesperson included closing the pedestrian walkway or sidewalk to protesters just after 5 p.m.

Protesters instead rallied near the toll plaza.

VIDEO: Hundreds protest vaccine mandates near Golden Gate Bridge
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Several hundred protesters gathered near the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday to protest state and federal vaccine mandates.



"There began to be comments made that they were actually going to come off the sidewalks and into the roadway and take over the traffic lanes," said CHP Spokesperson Officer Andrew Barclay with CHP Marin Area.

The CHP had already addressed that particular concern earlier in the afternoon when a driver they said was associated with the protest, got out of his vehicle on the bridge with signs. They say he ignored orders to get back in his car, became combative and resisted arrest.

To keep anyone else from entering the roadway, the CHP closed a lane of traffic and created a buffer with security between protesters and moving vehicles.

VIDEO: 5 injured, including CHP officers, after car crash near anti-vaccine rally at Golden Gate Bridge
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Five people are injured after a car crash on the Golden Gate Bridge during an anti-vaccine mandate rally Thursday night.



Officer Barclay says a privately-owned street sweeping vehicle drifted left out of its lane, colliding with a Ford Explorer. The vehicles then hit a Golden Gate Bridge District employee managing traffic and temporarily pinned two CHP officers. Two other Golden Gate Bridge District security employees were also injured. One of the two was taken to the hospital last night and released. The two CHP officers were also taken to the hospital and released last night.

"There's no choice that we have in that situation, we have to serve as the law enforcement agency that is going to prevent people from taking over the roadway," said Officer Barclay.

Traffic was backed up through the city onto Presidio Parkway and Lombard street. The Golden Gate Bridge District Highway & Transportation District spokesperson said with a permit, it's possible protesters would have been allowed to protest on the sidewalk but would not have been allowed to protest during the height of rush hour traffic.

"Precisely because of these types of impacts to traffic," said Cosulich-Schwartz.

ABC7 News reached out to protest organizers today to ask about the permit. We have not yet heard back.

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