San Francisco prosecutors have started charging 80 protesters who blocked the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge while demanding a cease-fire in Gaza.
The protest took place during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit when President Joe Biden and other world leaders were in San Francisco.
The big picture: Seventeen of the protesters appeared in court facing charges including false imprisonment, refusing to comply with a peace officer, unlawful public assembly, refusing to disperse, and obstruction of a public place.
- Their arraignments were continued to February.
- Protesters held a news conference outside the court, advocating for a cease-fire and calling for the charges to be dropped.
The backstory: Around 200 protesters participated in the demonstration, blocking all lanes of traffic on the Bay Bridge’s upper deck.
- They called on Biden to demand an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
What they’re saying: San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement that while free speech must be protected, exercising it cannot compromise public safety.
- “The demonstration on the Bay Bridge that snarled traffic for hours had a tremendous impact on those who were stuck on the bridge for hours and required tremendous public resources to resolve,” Jenkins said.