Inside Berkeley’s Latest Demo

by Steed dropout
Mar. 24, 2015

‘You don’t like it when we sprang?
Sit down, let’s talk, and make some change!’

‘Arresting people always fails!
Give us housing, not more jails!’

‘Give us a home!
Leave us alone!’


A flag, a band, and Running Wolf. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As usual, the demo was late. But all the ingredients were in place for a spirited (if small) march downtown to City Hall, last week.

SF Liberation Brass Orchestra, about to warm up the crowd.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

Osha Neumann was on the bullhorn outside Amoeba for last minute recruitment; the SF Brass Liberation orchestra (BLO) entertained; as did Running Wolf, with a little street theater involving attacks on moving traffic at TeleHaste-a major thoroughfare.

This demo became necessary, according to some demonstrators, after a crackdown on Telegraph transients and even more severe crackdown measures before the Berkeley City Council. The idea, as usual, was to march to City Hall and speak to council.

Berkeley Reporter, which you are reading, was, it has claimed, the first to cover the crackdown in a recent post. Reporter is presently investigating the continuing crackdown.


Look ma, no signs!
Photo by Ted Friedman.

When marchers launched late, they had a different look. Something was missing. After weeks of big-sign demos, this demo had no look-at-me, take-my-picture signs.

No signs. Some held little hand-outs before them: No on “S.” The discreet red sheet, reminded some eye-in-the-sky that Berkeley defeated S, which would have banned sitting on business-district sidewalks. The new measures are, allegedly, draconian.

Reading out the chants. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As demonstrators marched to protect the rights of street transients, a group of transients, which had been intransigent outside Amoeba was being shooed off the avenue. A downtown intransigent group is somehow surviving downtown.


A March if it is good, will characterize itself. Some activists are called by their faith to destroy property and that is one kind of march. The other kind is just where you want to enjoy yourself. This March was out for fun.

BLO. remember the brass band? Its drummer seemed synced into the crowd or else the crowd was now stringed puppets for the band.

Dear readers, my heart sank as a woman brought signs and they were passed out from her car. The signs were, cool, though.

Signs arrive downtown. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Berkeley Police were nowhere to be seen, perhaps “monitoring” the march from headquarters. with a few discreet stakeouts on side streets.

City Council adopted the draconian measure.

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