A group of protesters vandalized dozens of businesses, cars and any property they came across as they marched through the Mission on Monday night. One person was arrested, according to Sgt. Daryl Fong, but no details about the arrest have yet been made available.
The mile-long trek of vandalism began at 18th and Dolores streets, where a group of more than 100 protesters met as part of an early May Day march. The protesters walked east on 18th Street, turned left on Valencia Street, right on Duboce Avenue, and made a right on Mission Street before being confronted by riot police at 14th and Mission, according to Justin Beck, an independent journalist who followed the protesters.
Police dispersed the crowd in the area of 12th and Folsom streets, Fong said.
In a statement released early Tuesday morning, Occupy San Francisco said the vandals were not associated with the movement, but the statement was taken down shortly after.
Scott Anansi Rossi, who was at the scene last night, wrote in a blog post that the riots were not planned.
“I believe we were hijacked and it was an utter cluster—. It started out as sort of a ‘pep rally’ type thing at Dolores Park, but maybe 20 minutes after we got there, it turned into a march,” Rossi wrote on his blog.
The vandalism began almost immediately after the group took off from Dolores Park at around 9 p.m. The protesters paint-bombed Tartine Bakery on 18th and Guerrero streets. When they reached Farina, one protester grabbed a chair and attempted to break a window but was not successful, said police officer D. Daza. Several of the protesters, dressed in black clothing and with their faces covered, threw sacks filled with paint at the restaurant’s windows, drew anarchist symbols on them and spraypainted “Yuppies out!”
Police confronted the protesters in front of the restaurant and a small group of them dispersed, but the main crew continued along Valencia Street. They paint-bombed and broke some of the windows at Mission Police Station, according to Daza. By then a group of about 50 had moved to other restaurants north of Valencia Street.
Armed with crowbars, bats and other metal objects, some of the protesters smashed the windows of businesses along a five-block stretch of Valencia Street, from 18th Street to Duboce Avenue.
The bar manager at Locanda, Gabriel Lowe, said he heard three loud bangs, and when he looked out of the window he saw a protester throwing paint sacks at the storefront. Several witnesses said they saw a protester trying to break the restaurant’s windows with its valet parking sign. The ordeal lasted about five minutes, Lowe said.
A diminished group of protesters continued smashing car windshields and side mirrors and slashing tires as they marched along Valencia Street. They appeared to be targeting luxury cars such as BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, but they also vandalized a 1990s Toyota Sienna minivan.
Steven Lopez was having dinner with friends at his Glen Park home when he received a phone call from his alarm company informing him that someone had broken some of the windows at his ArtZone 461 Gallery on Valencia Street.
“We are a small art gallery, we are not elitist,” Lopez said, puzzled as to why his gallery was targeted.
Heather Brodie, a student employed at Locanda, said the vandals smashed the windshield and windows of her parked car.
“They are hurting people [who are] like them,” she said, referring to herself as a working-class citizen.
Some businesses, such as Four Barrel coffee company, were spared greater damage thanks to good Samaritans who tried to stop the protesters.
According to Four Barrel’s owner, Jeremy Tooker, a handyman was fixing the shop’s door as a protester approached. The man was hit by a crowbar but was able to prevent protesters from smashing the business’s windows. The man is OK, Tooker said.
As protesters reached 14th and Valencia, they vandalized Ronny Ghosh’s Infinity SUV. A neighbor captured the incident on video and gave Ghosh a copy.
“They have no respect for property or law and order,” Ghosh said after showing a reporter the video, in which people are seen smashing his car’s windows and slashing its tires.
As protesters neared Duboce Avenue and Mission Street, a police car T-boned another car, according to Beck.
An officer told victims standing by the cars that police had received 500 calls reporting damage that included smashed windows and slashed tires.
Live Fit, the clothing stores Weston Wear and Therapy, and restaurants Tartine Bakery, Bar Tartine, Locanda and Farina were all targeted. Weston Wear’s three floor-to-ceiling windows were smashed.
Paintballs were launched at businesses, leaving large splotches of paint on their facades.
All the windows of a car parked in front of Locanda had been smashed. A glass door was broken at Art Zone, a business on Valencia between 15th and 16th streets, as were car windows. On Valencia near Market Street, car tires were slashed and anarchist symbols were painted on windows.
We will update this story as we get more information.