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Riot police reopen Mission streets after protests, Kamala Harris visit

A line of police officers in riot gear face off against protesters in a city street. The scene includes both officers and civilians holding signs in an urban setting.
Riot police and pro-Palestine protesters square-off in the Mission on Wednesday. | Source: Tomoki Chien/The Standard

San Francisco riot police blocked several streets in the Mission Wednesday in response to a protest ahead of Vice President Kamala Harris’s arrival at The Chapel for a fundraiser.

Roads around Valencia and 19th streets reopened around 2:45 p.m. after Mission Station police Capt. Thomas Harvey declared the protests “a safe event.”

The protest—which came a day before convicted felon and former president Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance at a fundraising dinner in Pacific Heights—began around noon Wednesday as 150 pro-Palestine activists converged at 19th and Valencia streets with signs, flags and loudspeakers.

“Vice President Harris cannot expect to fundraise and campaign in our backyard without facing residents who’ve been working tirelessly to end this war and defeat fascism at home and abroad,” Lara Kiswani of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center said in a press release.

A diverse crowd of people is marching down a tree-lined street on a sunny day, some holding signs. The street is bustling with activity and surrounded by parked cars.
Protesters gathered in the Mission ahead of a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris. | Source: Tomoki Chien/The Standard

At 1 p.m., what appeared to be Secret Service agents stood guard outside The Chapel, where Harris was scheduled to appear at the Biden Victory Fund event. An hour later, the vice president’s motorcade arrived escorted by motorcycle cops.

A police officer at the scene said the plan was to move protesters to one block on 19th Street between Lapidge and Valencia streets.

Within an hour of the protest starting, riot officers began pushing demonstrators away from The Chapel and into the intersection at 19th and Valencia streets.

At 1:15 p.m., protesters complied with police orders to move to the south side of the intersection.

“Thanks for cooperating thus far,” one officer said over a loudspeaker. That was met by a chorus of boos from demonstrators.

A person is writing "SAVE GAZA" on the street with chalk, while a line of police officers in riot gear stands behind them. A Palestinian flag is visible on the right.
Riot cops gather on 19th and Valencia streets at a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Wednesday as a woman writes "Gaza" in chalk on the sidewalk. | Source: Tomoki Chien/The Standard

Valencia Street between 17th and 20th streets remained cordoned off by police for the next few hours.

Protestors brought a large speaker system that effectively drowned out instructions from SFPD.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cannot show face anywhere in this country,” one protestor shouted through the speaker. “If they go to the desert, if they go to the moon, we’re gonna be there chasing them down.”

Protestors reacting to Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to San Francisco chant slogans comparing the SFPD and Israeli Defense Force to the KKK on Wednesday. | Source: Tomoki Chien/The Standard

“SFPD, KKK, IOF, you’re all the same,” protesters chanted in unison as riot cops continued to cordon off the area. The IOF is a pejorative term for the Israel Defense Forces, in which the “O” stands for Occupation.

Riot cops began handing out zip ties to officers around 1:30 p.m. in an apparent readying to detain protesters. No one was arrested or detained, police at the scene said.