The San Francisco peace demonstration eye witness report

20-01-2021 By: Richard Muller




I was at the San Francisco anti-war protest today and it was the largest rally I've been to in San Francisco and I have been to a fewover the last 30 years here. It is not always easy to tell how many people are at these things unless you are above the crowd but as soon as I got out of the subway on Montgomery and Market it was wall to wall people, literally no room.

We marched slowly to the civic center for what seemed like hours as we were going so slow. There were people with families, young people from high schools, people from Silicon Valley, it was a diverse crowd. The news tonight said 40,000 people were which would be a good number but 200,000 is closer to the numbers; there was way over 40,000, I have been to enough of these to know that. I heard a police estimate of 200,000 and other estimates of 300,000.

A couple of comrades as well as someone from the CRR went to a meeting place for a "breakaway march" which is for the more militant elements and those who don't want to listen to the boring speeches. We went to a planning meeting the night before for this breakaway but were not told what sort of action would take place or where we would be going.

We started marching and the crowd was much more combative and lively, it was led by some Anarchists. It seemed fairly well organized, we kept close together and went on our "illegal" route. We stopped at intersections along the way and held up traffic a bit. The lead group had two long poles with a red flag attached to one and a green flag to another. We were reminded to "follow the flags" and stick close together so that we knew where to go.

By now there was a large group of cops on bicycles who were actually leading us, or they thought they were. But it was a trick. We hit the intersection where the organizers knew we were going to turn right and the first row or two of the marchers went ahead while the rest of us made the turn. It was such a funny sight. As I turned right the last scene ahead of me was of a whole bunch of cops their bicycles facing forward and all their heads turned behind them. Where'd the march go? They seemed to be saying to each other. They had lost their march.

The group turned and went to the San Francisco Chronicle building and I think they wrote on the walls and spray painted as it was a voice of the Pentagon news releases. I read on SF Indymedia that there was some violence and gas was lobbed at the Black Bloc and a Starbucks was hit etc. but I had left before that. This was the best part of the day really. For anyone interested, SF Indymedia can be found at :

We handed out some 1500 Paybacks and they were well received. As I was coming home on the subway I sat next to this older Chinese American woman and I offered here a Payback. She refused it and said that she had picked up enough junk at the rally, then apologized saying that she didn't mean my literature was junk. She looked quite poor, even homeless. I said it was no problem and laid the literature on my lap. She saw the account of the CRR in Oakland and asked if she could have a copy, she said that she was being evicted and might end up homeless. She wanted to read about what the CRR was doing to fight this in Oakland.

All in all, this was a good day. The media here in the U.S though must be the worst in the Industrial economies. The war propaganda is rampant and accounts of rallies like these are totally skewed. Take my word for it, there were close to 200,000 here today I think.



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