The San Francisco contingent of yesterday’s nationwide day of protest entered the Mission just before 6 p.m. after an afternoon of speeches, marching, and die-ins downtown. The protests, which many called “Millions March,” occurred in New York, Washington D.C., Oakland, and San Francisco among other cities and were in response to the recent police killings of unarmed men of color, most notably Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York.
“Millions March San Francisco” began at the Ferry Building around 2 p.m. It then went down Market Street, where protestors staged a mass die-in at Market and Powell. They then moved on to City Hall, where they listened to about an hour of speeches. The families of Alex Nieto and O’Shaine Evans spoke about their sons’ and brothers’ deaths. Both men were killed in incidents with the SFPD in the last year. The protest remained peaceful, and hundreds left after the speeches at City Hall wrapped up around 4:30 p.m.
A much smaller group worked its way back towards Union Square, where police blocked multiple attempts to get to the landmark. Eventually giving up, the protest worked its way to the Mission down Market.
While reports had it that thousands gathered for the beginning of the protest at the Ferry Building, by the time the marchers reached the Mission, the numbers were down to 100 or less and police far outnumbered those marching. There was a brief stop in front of the police station, where police watched as the protestors hurled insults at them, often screaming out “Pigs!”
The protest finally ended at 24th and Mission around 7:00 p.m. with roughly 30 protestors still present. Many of them created a circle and took turns speaking into the microphone about why they had decided to march today.
“I came out here today because it feels like police people can kill any civilian they want to,” said Jakeivius Pritchett, the first person to speak. He said that he recently moved to San Francisco from Birmingham, Alabama to live with some friends and escape the police racism of the South.
During this time, thousands were still reportedly marching in Oakland, which had its own protest for the day.
Around 7:20 p.m., a voice over a loudspeaker ordered the now small protest to disperse. It did, and the intersection at 24th and Mission was open again by 7:30 p.m.