81 Arrested in Bay Bridge Protest Over APEC Summit in SF
81 individuals were arrested during a protest that shut down several lanes of the Bay Bridge during rush hour and disrupted traffic heading to San Francisco. The protest was staged by multiple organizations calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. The protesters, who were chanting, tying themselves together with chains, and staging a ‘die-in’, face charges of unlawful assembly and failure to disperse, and the protest was declared an “unlawful demonstration” by the California Highway Patrol.
81 Arrested as Pro-Palestinian Protesters Block Traffic on Bay Bridge
On Thursday, 81 individuals were arrested as protestors from diverse organizations shut down the Bay Bridge during morning rush hour, causing significant delays and disrupting traffic to San Francisco. The protestors demanded a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. They started blocking westbound lanes just before 8 a.m., with many staging a ‘die-in’ and covering themselves with white sheets that read “Stop the genocide”.
California Highway Patrol declared the demonstration unlawful and proceeded to arrest protestors, who were later released after being cited for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse. The protest coincided with the weeklong Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco and followed numerous other protests across the San Francisco Bay Area.
The protest was organized by groups including the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC Bay Area). They posted on social media that protestors took to the Bay Bridge “in defense of Palestinian liberation”.
California Department of Transportation spokesperson Bart Ney told KTVU-TV that traffic would be affected all day. By noon, however, all westbound lanes on the bridge had reopened. Protestors who drove onto the bridge likely threw their keys into the Pacific Ocean, causing further delays.
Ney reported that 29 abandoned vehicles were towed off the bridge. He also noted that the bridge usually sees over 280,000 vehicles daily.
California Highway Patrol Chief Ezery Beauchamp emphasized protestors’ right to exercise the First Amendment but criticized the chosen method. He stated this is “100 percent wrong, not acceptable, and is illegal to do.”
Beauchamp noted that the protestors were well-organized and that the authorities were not caught off guard. “We were here within a couple of minutes, but they…got that accomplished within seconds”, Beauchamp said. He reiterated the right to protest but said it should not take place on the Bay Bridge.
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