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Police confront protesters at San Francisco march calling for cease-fire in Gaza

A person chanting at a protest while holding a banner and marching beside a Palestinian flag.
Protesters walk down Market Street in San Francisco on Tuesday demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. | Source: Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

Thousands of protestors calling for a cease-fire in Gaza took to the streets in Downtown San Francisco Tuesday as the city played host to world leaders in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Protesters waving Palestinian flags stand in front of a row of San Francisco police officers on a city street.
Protesters stand across a line of police officers in Downtown San Francisco on Tuesday. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

The protesters chanted “Genocide Joe, you can’t hide” as they marched to a fundraiser for President Biden’s reelection campaign.

Transit officials said the demonstration caused service delays in both directions for routes along Market Street.

Protesters carry a banner that reads, "Stop the Genocide."
Protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza walk down Market Street on Tuesday. | Source: Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

The gathering kicked off early Tuesday evening with various speakers standing atop a U-Haul truck addressing the crowd while calling for the United States to stop sending billions of dollars in military aid to Israel.

Richard Becker, West Coast coordinator for the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, said that money would be better spent combating soaring rates of child poverty in the U.S.

“Last year, child poverty in the United States went from 5.2% to 12.4%,” he said, referring to data from the 2022 U.S. Census. “So there’s money for war, but no money for the poor. More and more, the people in this country are poor while war gets the priority.”

Kay Marie, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told demonstrators she traveled from Washington, D.C., to attend the protest and to continue putting pressure on Biden and other government leaders to broker a cease-fire.

“He said there is ‘no possibility’ for a cease-fire—does that sound like a president who speaks for the people?” she asked, eliciting boos from the crowd. “Biden told us that there wasn’t enough money to cancel student debt. That there wasn’t enough money to support our health care workers or teachers, but all of a sudden, billions of dollars pop up to support genocide.”

About an hour and a half after the official start of the march, the crowds got into a brief confrontation with California Highway Patrol officers while heading north on Grant Avenue before ultimately continuing onto California Street.

After a brief scuffle, the march continued until protestors came to a halt near the corner of California and Montgomery streets, where police lined the intersection, eventually diverting the demonstration back toward Market Street.

Protestors chanted as Biden and other Democratic leaders, such as Kamala Harris, were attending a fundraiser at the Merchant Exchange Building at 465 California St.

READ MORE: China’s Xi Jinping Arrives in San Francisco to Fanfare, Protests

Protesters holding Palestinian flags march through a city street at night.
Protesters walk down Market Street on their way to the site of a fundraiser for President Biden's reelection campaign. | Source: Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

Biden touched down at the San Francisco International Airport hours earlier, landing at 1:16 p.m. Tuesday before getting escorted by motorcade to Downtown San Francisco.

READ MORE: San Francisco APEC Sees Dueling Chinese Protests Ahead of Xi Jinping’s Arrival

Four protesters holding a banner, with one of them wearing a mask and raising a Palestinian flag.
Marchers waved Palestinian flags while holding banners that read, "Stop the Genocide." | Source: Michaela Vatcheva for The Standard

The protest came as news came out about Biden meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and as Tesla’s Elon Musk and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff convened for the first day of the APEC CEO Summit, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 business executives from a slew of corporations.

READ MORE: Gwen Stefani To Perform at Biden’s APEC Party in San Francisco, Sources Say

Police confront protesters during the march Tuesday evening. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Xi’s stop in the San Francisco Bay Area marks his first visit to the U.S. since April 2017 and his first visit to San Francisco since 1985.

A close-up image of protesters at a rally demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.
The march was timed to take place as President Biden met with world leaders for the APEC summit in San Francisco. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Prior to the arrival of world leaders for APEC, thousands of people took to the city’s streets on Sunday to protest a range of issues, most notably the war in Gaza.

Similar actions are expected to continue throughout the week, including a protest of APEC’s CEO Summit scheduled for Wednesday morning near the Powell Street BART Station.