After 17 days without solid food, the five hunger strikers who had been camped out in front of Mission Police Station to demand the resignation of SFPD Chief Greg Suhr have ended their fast, a spokesperson for the strikers said. On Friday afternoon, the entire group had been taken to the hospital.
In a continuation of their movement, however, the group has called on their supporters to participate in a general strike on Monday, May 9.
“The end of the strike is in no way a concession – it’s a victory of monumental proportions. They have been told in no uncertain terms by the community that they are needed here to help fight a corrupt administration and a racist and violent police department,” wrote Yayne Abeba, in a statement on behalf of the strikers. “They still hold true to their demands.”
Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, Edwin Lindo and Sellassie Blackwell began their strike in protest of deadly shootings at the hands of police officers, the most recent claiming the life of Luis Gongora, as well as a series of scandals including the discovery of two separate sets of racist and homophobic text messages exchanged among officers.
Abeba wrote that the group of hunger strikers is likely to remain in the hospital for several days as they recover and undergo a lengthy re-feeding process.
“As the health of #Frisco5 grows uncertain, the whole San Francisco community took the step to demand the hunger strikers suspend their hunger strike so they can return to the front lines and help shape this movement and the pursuit of justice for the black and brown citizens of San Francisco,” Abeba wrote. “They have decided to listen to the community that they love.”
Supporters of the strikers who protested at City Hall last night were pushed forcefully out of the building by sheriff’s deputies and police officers who wielded, and at times struck with, batons. The protest continued well past 10 p.m. Supporters of the movement intend to begin the general strike with a rally at City Hall at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.