Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says – Protest in San Francisco


Good Morning:

Although I have written that if San Francisco is not change then San Francisco is not at all, one aspect of our city’s culture may never change; a commitment to citizen activism and protest. These shots include some as recent as yesterday. Although this post contains a lot of pictures taken in our Civic Center plaza, they do not by any means represent all of the protests that have occurred there so far this year. The Federal Building on 450 Golden Gate Avenue has always seen protests, too; let’s start there.

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It might have helped if this person made the reason for his protest more clear. I can’t even decide if he was protesting or proclaiming piracy.

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Unseasonal rains shortened the shelf life this antiwar chalk drawing but the result looked rather artistic until the storm finally washed everything away.


And I don’t understand this one at all. The Star of David could mean anything from fervent support of Israel to anti-Semetic prejudice.

I saw this graffito (had to be a single scribbler; exact same message, style and paint everywhere) in a lot of neighborhoods leading up to the 2012 Presidential election.


Liberals in San Francisco have protested President Obama much more often than people living elsewhere might think. The use of drone strikes by our Nobel Peace Prize winner has come in for particularly harsh criticism.


Sidewalk art in San Francisco is so odd that it deserves its own category. Here is an economic protest sign on Divisadero near Oak.


And now to the Civic Center. A recent subject of protest has consisted of the 2013 America’s Cup which will take place on the San Francisco Bay. The Cup’s representatives negotiated for themselves an exceptionally good deal, and the City’s negotiators have come under increasingly heavy fire. The following sign appears a lot in front of City Hall. Note that in the first picture (taken on Monday), a City vehicle just happens to accidentally on purpose end up parked in front of the sign, but in the second (taken on Tuesday), no such obstruction exists.

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This person in the white tee shirt represents only a fraction of the conservative Christians who protest in front of City Hall annually against liberals and/or gays and/or San Francisco in general.


From an immigration reform protest. Note the photographer in the second shot who seemed a little grumpy about becoming the subject of a photograph himself.


A protest/picnic gathering of Anarchists. Don’t know what they were protesting that day. The bicyclist kept circling them, shouting something about some right-wing conspiracy that had been exposed on some conspiracy-addled website that seems designed to induce paranoia and/or other mental illnesses in its visitors.


DSCN5111A gay rights protest in front of the State Building at the Civic Center during the Supreme Court arguments over Proposition 8.


The most recent big protest in the Civic Center occurred last Saturday when the Bay Area’s Turkish community gathered to support the ongoing protests in Turkey against Prime Minister Erdogan. “A Tree Falls A Nation Rises” refers to the catalyst of the protests, wherein the government proposed demolishing an Istanbul park called Taksim Square to erect a replica of an Ottoman barracks and a shopping mall. The fourth photo portrays a phenomenon that must help fuel protests in San Francisco and around the world: namely, photographers. San Francisco has become the smartphone crazed home of Instagram et alia, and as such it would not surprise me at all if over 100,000 residents took at least one photo each day of the year. This can only encourage protestors to keep on protesting–all publicity is good publicity as long as the names are spelled right.

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Two photos of a protest/dance in support of women’s rights worldwide.

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San Francisco embraces the right to freedom of speech, the right of peaceful assembly and the right to petition for redress of grievances to an extent seldom matched anywhere in the world, thus providing a curious paradox: the more we protest against events, policies and laws in America, the more American we become.

Vonn Scott Bair


One response »

  1. Pingback: The San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade of 2013 (Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable) | The San Francisco Scene--Seen!

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