Maria Cristina Gutierrez, on of the "Frisco Five" hunger strikers. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

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.

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  1. Generally speaking, I’ve been supportive of the hunger strikers but disagree that it would solve anything to fire Greg Suhr. Get rid of him and you get another career cop, while the force is still the same and we’re stuck with a lame police commission is powerless OCC.

    The amount of political and media attention the strikers generated is tremendous and laudable, now what? Sure would be great if there were an actual movement with various _achievable_ demands made on not just the SFPD but also the corrupt DA George Gascon.

    Maybe I missed the demand from the hunger strikers that Gascon indict cops or that they have a plan to pressure the DA.

    Now, with only a few days notice we’re being asked to support a general strike. Huh? Show me some specific demands that would create better law enforcement – from the cops to the corrupt DA – and a winning strategy to reform the system.

    I’m just not on board this seat-of-the-pants approach of the organizers, even though it’s clear the last two weeks of fabulous street organizing happened without the usual paid “community organizers” of the various Mission Inc nonprofits.

    Btw, does anyone know if Tim Redmond’s new group Vision SF is doing a damn thing about bad law enforcement? I recall Redmond issued alerts about a meeting last week over the cops but he didn’t provide any report back to the community about that meeting. Is Vision SF just one more useless progressive effort feeding the egos of select organizers?

    Let’s see if the general strike actually happens tomorrow.

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    1. the removal of suhr doesn’t mean we’re going to let the police dept put another racist clown in his position. the people will be part of the process of choosing a police chief. the general strike is to add pressure onto lee to fire suhr and another avenue of unity for those understanding that suhr needs to go. there is no overnight solution to this problem, with law enforcement, but we’ll continue to take small steps towards our goal(s).

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