Skip to main content

Protesters gather at San Francisco mall to call out APEC CEO Summit

A California Highway Patrol Officer holds a baton as protesters scream during a demonstration.
A California Highway Patrol Officer pulls out a baton to push back protesters as they try and recover a fallen motorcycle in San Francisco on Tuesday. Protesters marched through the streets calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as world leaders will be in town for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Thousands of protesters gathered Wednesday in Downtown San Francisco to call out powerful officials and dignitaries at a key point in this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

The No to APEC Coalition—an umbrella group of over 150 grassroots organizations—has criticized forum economies for pushing “free trade” to harm indigenous people around the world.

At 7 a.m. Wednesday, members of several coalitions joined activists outside the entrance to the San Francisco Centre, formerly known as the Westfield mall at 865 Market St., to protest the forum’s APEC CEO Summit, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 business executives from a slew of corporations.

In a statement early Wednesday, the coalition said it holds attending executives “directly responsible for the current conditions of extreme economic inequality, climate catastrophe, environmental plunder, and war.”

READ MORE: APEC San Francisco: Everything To Know About Security, Traffic and Transit in 10 Maps

The ongoing protests by coalition members began in San Francisco last week, bringing several thousand people to rally and march Sunday from Harry Bridges Plaza by the Ferry Building to the edge of the Moscone Center complex, as well as at least a thousand more people to calling for a cease-fire in Gaza Tuesday night Downtown.

More than a thousand outside law enforcement officers are patrolling city streets as part of a unified response alongside federal law enforcement and city police to secure APEC venues.

Protesters spoke out about their opposition to the gathering, as well as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)—the Biden administration’s road map for a new Asia-Pacific economic strategy—and labor pacts, climate policies and military actions they perceive as misguided in practice and harmful at scale.

George Kelly can be reached at