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Antiwar Protesters Shut Down SF Federal Building

SF IMC: Some 500 antiwar activists shut down the San Francisco federal building for three hours on Friday. The demonstrators were protesting yesterday's House and Senate votes authorizing George W. Bush to wage war on Iraq.
Protests began Thursday at a downtown BART station. Marchers proceeded to the federal building in the Tenderloin, where about 150 held an all-night vigil and sleepover. The actions were put together on short notice by groups including Global Exchange, Not In Our Name, ANSWER, and others.

Beginning at 7:00am on Friday, groups of activists blockaded all four entrances to the building, preventing most office workers from entering. "This is much more than I thought we'd be able to do," said organizer Starhawk.

"Police considerably aided the blockaders' efforts by placing metal barricades along the front and back of the federal building. In front, about 25 protesters sat quietly and meditated outside the barriacdes. On the east side demonstrators kept up a picket line and about ten laid down in the entrance way attached to each other with duct tape.

"The back entrance proved the most active. Spirited activists accompanied by the Brass Liberation Orquestra chanted, danced, and often carried on conversations with the locked-out office workers, encouraging them to take the day off and do something for peace.

"Many workers milled about drinking coffee and chatting on their cell phones during the course of the shut-down. A few of the most determined tussled with the nonviolent protesters and some climbed over the police barricades to get in the building.

"A few times police surrounded small groups of blockaders and made arrests. An estimated 30 activists in all were arrested.

"At 10:00am, the demonstrators declared victory and embarked on a march to the office of Senator Diane Feinstein, who yesterday reneged on her promise to vote against the impending war.

"One of the workers told me this looks like the early days of the Vietnam war," said organizer Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange. "The difference is, this time we're going to stop the war before it starts." More Photos




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