Thursday, January 01, 2009

Flapping The Flag at ANSWER

On Tuesday evening, the Balabusta headed into San Francisco to form part of a counterprotest against the big protest out in front of the Israeli Consulate on Montgomery St. Notes herewith humbly submitted:

ARRIVAL: I walked down Montgomery, in the company of people toting all kinds of hideous signs, plus women toting the big paper mache heads. As I approach, I see the Israeli and American flags clustered on one side of the street as they usually are. Then I blink. Among the familiar blue and white is a green flag with writing in Arabic. This doesn't look quite right...

THE PROBLEM: By the time I showed up, a basic problem had developed, namely that the protestors were on both sides of the street, and had spread out through the area. They outnumbered us considerably. It was not a pleasant situation.

THE OPPOSITION: Usual crowd. Overwhelming majority of prefabbed ANSWER signs. STOP THE MASSACRE IN GAZA. THE REAL TERRORIST: U.S. AND ISRAEL. And so on. Except for one random bobbing ANSWER sign that read STOP CLOSING PLANTS. I expect that one got in there from another demo. A couple of swastika-instead-of-star flags. Some "Real Jews reject Zionism". Not wildly creative. They were extremely hopped up and aggressive. A couple of women 'accidentally' bumped into me, and when one woman backed up abruptly and ran into me, she got extremely crabby. A couple of very big and/or very young men screaming aggressively into people's faces. Very hyped, very hysterical.

THE CHANTS: They were loud. The predominant scream was "From the river to the sea", but there was a lot of "Free Free Palestine!" too. I can't make out much of the Arabic, but At The Back of the Hill has some further info.

At about six-thirty, the whole mob formed up and decided to march down Market. This led to all of them marching by us. Lots of fingers given. At some point, the lady next to me spotted a similar lady in the crowd walking by us. The lady spotted her. She zoomed over, accompanied by a nervous SFPD officer. A screaming match in Russian ensued.

I'm disappointed in SFPD. They should have sorted the two groups out, for safety's sake if nothing else.

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