A small riot took place last night, Monday April 30, in the Mission district of San Francisco a day before plans to bring May Day general strikes and celebrations to the US, headed by the Occupy Wall Street movement. The riot was carried out by around 50-100 protesters, according to conflicting reports, who marched through the trendy neighborhood smashing windows, throwing paint at store fronts and tagging signs with Anarchist slogans.
The protesters were reportedly affiliated with the Blac Block, a radical faction of Occupy San Francisco that the larger organization has attempted to disassociate itself with in the past. The event was apparently advertised on may1ststrike.com, but later taken down, but Breitbart.com claims to have spotted and copied the notice while it was still up:
We call on our comrades from every corner of the Bay to descend upon Dolores Park, 8pm April 30th, for a ruckus street party to counter gentrification, capitalism, and the policing of our communities...
...San Francisco, once a stronghold of the dispossessed, has become a playground for the rich and a living hell for those of us who can't keep up or have no interest in capitalist relations. Homelessness, gentrification, racist police murders, the displacement of all that is queer, outrageous rent prices, our list is endless: it is time to reclaim our playground.
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In statement released early Tuesday morning, Occupy San Francisco denied any association with the group of vandals, though that statement was quickly taken offline as well.
The protesters, who covered their faces and bodies in black clothing, gathered at Dolores Park around 9 pm. Riot police formed a perimeter around them but made no attempt to disperse the crowd, who proceeded to leave the park and go on a destructive rampage, breaking windows, throwing garbage cans and painting anarchist symbols on street signs while shouting F-ck the police and Here, piggy piggy! eventually they were intercepted by the police and forced the scatter.
According to the Mission Local the protesters vandalized as many as 12 store fronts on Mission Street where they were eventually confronted by the police, causing them to split into smaller groups who continued to riot. No arrests were reported.
Blogger Scott Anasi Rossi, who attended the protest, wrote that the original intention was never to vandalize their neighborhood.
I believe we were hijacked and it was an utter cluster f--k. It started out as sort of a 'pep rally' type thing at Dolores Park, but maybe 20 minutes after we got there, it turned into a march, witness Rossi wrote on his blog.
Among the business damaged were Tartine Bakery, local bar Locanda, and an independently owned art gallery. Armed with crowbars, bats and other objects, some protesters smashed the windows of businesses along a five-block stretch of Valencia Street, from 18th St. to Duboce Avenue. For photos of the damage visit the Mission Local website.
The group continued smashing car windows, apparently focusing on luxury (one percent cars) like BMWs and Mercedes-Benz, but also vandalized a 1990s Toyota Sienna minivan.