“Welcome to the House of Murder, Ed Lee has blood on his hands,” protestor JawanaNicole Aguirre announced to guests flooding in to City Hall for Mayor Ed Lee’s inauguration ceremony. She was joined by activists and organizers from the Bayview and the Mission who have united their causes to protest shootings by police.
Once inside, guests got a different greeting from London Breed, president of the Board of Supervisors.
“This is the people’s palace,” Breed said. “It is a home to each and every one of us.”
In the silences between speeches and songs, chants and profanity rang out. Protestors demanded that Police Chief Greg Suhr be fired, and hissed at the mention of Lee’s name.
“Go to hell, you c**t” one man shouted, prompting a swift removal by Sheriff’s deputies. With waves of chanting and shouting, additional deputies arrived, some wearing helmets with face shields and carrying batons. The Chronicle reports 10 people were removed by officials in total.
But the majority of chants were not profanity laden – a deafening chorus of “Fire Chief Suhr” broke out several times, along with “Black Lives Matter!” and “Justice for Mario Woods!”
At one point, deputies began announcing to the crowd that they would begin making arrests. It’s unclear whether those removed from the hall were indeed arrested or just forced out.
Another protester against police shootings is removed from the mayoral inauguration pic.twitter.com/DLlroGu8SS
— Mission Local (@MLNow) January 8, 2016
The ceremonies continued doggedly, though on occasion the protestors nearly drowned out speakers.
“Eventually, I moved from fighting for change from the outside to making change from the inside,” Lee said, to some hissing and boos from upstairs. When he promised to take guns out of the hands of dangerous people, a protester chimed in, “like police!”
With the completion of Lee’s speech, the group left the hall, under the watchful eye of a row of deputies who moments before had blocked the way to the stairwell from where the protestors had gathered.
Outside, they made three demands: For an independent investigation into Mario Woods’ death, that Suhr be fired, and that the officers involved be charged with murder.
“I am putting Ed Lee on notice,” said Yayne Abeba. “You will have no justice, you will have no peace, because we don’t get justice and we don’t get peace.”
On Wednesday, families and advocates for Mario Woods, killed by police in December 2015, and Alex Nieto, shot by police in 2014, marched on a Bayview police station together.
“The Mission district is here in solidarity with the Bayview district” said an activist and advocate for the Nieto family, Oscar Salinas.
“We are not going to stop until we get the powers that be on our terms,” said Phelicia Jones, a member of both the SEIU 1021 and the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition. “We are not begging, we are not asking, we are demanding justice.”