Protesters in support of San Francisco hunger strikers interrupt supes meeting

Bay City News
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Protesters in support of SF hunger strikers interrupt Supes meeting
Hundreds of protesters came to San Francisco City Hall in support of hunger strikers calling for the ousting of the city's police chief.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of protesters came to San Francisco City Hall Tuesday afternoon in support of hunger strikers calling for the ouster of the city's police chief and interrupted a Board of Supervisors meeting to shout their demands.

Five people dubbed the #Frisco5 have refrained from eating for 13 days in protest of recent police killings in San Francisco and are calling for Mayor Ed Lee to fire police Chief Greg Suhr.

PHOTOS: Protesters calling for firing of SF top cop march through city streets

Hundreds of their supporters marched from the Mission Police Station to City Hall this afternoon, pushing the five hunger strikers in wheelchairs, and then gathered in Civic Center Plaza at about 2:30 p.m. while chanting "Fire Chief Suhr!"

"This mayor's a complete disgrace and if anyone doesn't see that then they don't know what's going on," said hunger striker Sallssie Striker. "This is the most despicable mayor and we are putting our line on the line and tehy going going out."

The protesters then entered City Hall and stood outside the door to the mayor's office, where they were told by a staffer that Lee was not inside. Around the same time, Lee posted a photo on Twitter from a meeting with merchants in the city's Bayview District in support of small businesses.

Some of the protesters then went into the Board of Supervisors chambers and called for the supervisors to make the mayor fire Suhr.

"Now is the time to take action," one protester said at the meeting. "People are dying literally across the hall, they're withering away. Are you ready to do something?"

Board president London Breed then called for a recess of the meeting while chanting continued.

The protesters hoped to meet with the mayor following recent fatal shootings by police officers in San Francisco, including of Mario Woods by several officers in the Bayview District in December. Bystanders captured that shooting on video and it circulated widely on social media.

"I'm tired, I'm tired, my body hurts, my muscles are sore. This crowd, the people, they lift you up but you crash every day and I don't know how long I'm going to last," said Edwin Lindo, a hunger striker.

Jose Hernandez, a Daly City resident also at the protest, questioned why police didn't use crisis negotiators in cases like Woods' before opening fire and said the shootings are an example of injustice in the city.

"San Francisco is the most beautiful city aesthetically, but not in a social or economic way," Hernandez said.

The march from the Mission District to City Hall blocked traffic on many major thoroughfares in the city Tuesday afternoon, including Mission Street, Market Street and Van Ness Avenue.

Protesters continued on to a scheduled forum hosted by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and the City's public defender Jeff Adachi. It was then announced the event was canceled, but later Adachi welcomed protesters to join in in a conversation on police accountability at Congregation Sherith Israel in Pacific Heights. Suhr would not be attending the event.