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Splinter group clashes with cops for hours

Andrew Johnson of Santa Cruz, one of the demonstrators, said he was struck on the arm three times by an officer without provocation.
“It was totally unnecessary,” he said. “We weren’t doing anything.”
Splinter group clashes with cops for hours

<www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi>

35-40 arrested after smashing windows, refusing to disperse

by Anastasia Hendrix, Tom Abate, Chronicle Staff Writers
Monday, February 17, 2003


San Francisco - A group of demonstrators broke away from the huge crowd at San Francisco’s Civic Center area at the end of Sunday’s anti-war march and clashed later with police on Market Street during a four-hour confrontation marked by hit-and-run vandalism.
Members of the group broke windows at several businesses and on a pair of police cars during their rampage. They spray-painted buildings and other objects with graffiti. They burned trash, climbed onto a cable car, and later tossed bottles and other objects at mounted police who were trying to control them.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst said late Sunday night that 46 people were arrested -- 28 men and 18 women. All but five people were cited and released on misdemeanor charges of causing a public disturbance.
The five peopleall menremained behind bars facing multiple felony charges, including assault, assaulting a peace officer, assaulting a police horse, climbing on top of a moving cable car and resisting arrest, Hirst said.
The group began with about 1,000 people and dwindled to about 200 people, who took over the intersection of Market and Eighth streets.
Around 7 p.m., dozens of police in riot gear surrounded demonstrators and began arresting those who refused police orders to clear the intersection. By 8 p.m., the intersection was reopened to traffic.
After the arrests, about 70 demonstrators marched to the new jail at 425 Seventh St., where they rallied in support of those arrested.
Police said two officers were injured during the confrontation and taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where they were treated and released.
Deputy Police Chief Greg Suhr said the day’s earlier, enormous anti-war march had been peaceful, “but the second demonstration is probably the worst (we’ve had) with assaults on officers and malicious mischief.
“It’s anti-war,” Suhr said. “It’s kind of like anti-everything.”
Police Sgt. Jim Seim said it appeared that 40 to 50 members of the group were responsible for most of the evening’s mischief.
The breakaway crowd seemed to be mostly made up of young “Black Bloc” anarchists like those who broke windows and spray-painted buildings during last month’s march.
Many wore masks and black clothing, and they seemed to favor hit-and-run tactics, engaging in random acts of vandalism and violence, then racing away from pursuing officers.
The group pulled out of the Civic Center area when the main demonstration was all but finished and many of the original participants had left the area.
Around 4 p.m., a group that Suhr estimated at around 1,000 began moving down Market Street toward Hallidie Plaza. The group arrived at the foot of Powell Street near the cable car turnaround shortly after 4 p.m.
Vandals broke windows at McDonald’s on Powell Street and Old Navy on Market Street, as well as the window front at Abercrombie & Fitch in the San Francisco Centre.
A dozen or so protesters also ran through the main entrance to the mall and threw rocks at some stores to try to break windows, without success.
The protesters then moved back up Market to the intersection of Eighth Street, where they broke the windows of two SFPD patrol cars.
Around 5:15 p.m., some protesters sat down on the Muni tracks on Market Street between Eighth and Ninth. Using bullhorns, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, warning people they would be arrested if they did not disperse.
Some protesters left while others began throwing objectsbottles, sticks and garbageat police on horseback. The terrified horses began bumping against each other, and finally the mounted officers galloped away to cheers from the crowd.
Some people present during the arrests accused police of using excessive force.
Andrew Johnson of Santa Cruz, one of the demonstrators, said he was struck on the arm three times by an officer without provocation.
“It was totally unnecessary,” he said. “We weren’t doing anything.”
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Chronicle staff writers Bill Wallace, Pam Podger and Kathleen Sullivan contributed to this report. / E-mail the writers at ahendrix (at) sfchronicle.com and tabate (at) sfchronicle.com

 
 


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Comments

It's the media, stupid

Hi, my name is Andrew Johnson (not really). Yes, I did get hit on the arm three times (...with a wooden batton) without provocation. It WAS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY! We (the people standing a the BART stop) were not doing anything wrong!

The article quotes me, but it makes it sound like was involved in throwing bottles, smashing windows, etc... It does not say that I was standing at a public transit waiting area.

I do not feel like ranting on my abhoration for the mainstream media. Let's just say this, "LIES, LIES, MISINFORMATION, and LIES"

-andrew johnson
 

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