Hundreds of protesters lay down on the sidewalks and in the streets of downtown San Francisco, representing the 3,200 American soldiers and the estimated 160,000 Iraqi civilians who have died in the past four years. A helicopter whirring overhead and the corpses under blood-spattered sheets gave the direct action an eerie Vietnam feel, but there seemed to be more cops than corpses. They got something to do when 57 protesters became the walking dead, rising up from the sidewalk and dying again in Market Street traffic, disrupting the flow of daily life and garnering some misdemeanor charges.
Across the bay, 14 people also prepared for arrests, locking themselves into a human chain across the entrance to Chevron's corporate headquarters in San Ramon. For the third time in four years, more than 100 representatives from Bay Rising, US Labor Against War, Amazon Watch, and Students for a Democratic Society gathered to speak against the other axis of evil: oil, profits, and war.
"Under the new Iraqi Oil Law, Chevron is standing to directly benefit from a law that comes from Bush. Two-thirds of [Iraq] oil will be owned by foreign companies," Sam Edmondson of Bay Rising said. "The fear is that US troops will be used to secure that oil."
Back in San Francisco, in front of the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "Stop Funding the War" called on the woman who controls the purse strings to tighten them.
A few hundred people gathered outside the Federal Building to hear veterans, mothers of soldiers, local progressives, and city officials, such as Sup. Ross Mirkarimi, who's authored local resolutions against the war.
"I think [Pelosi] should be lining up votes to cut off funding for the war," former supervisor and 2003 mayoral candidate Matt Gonzales said. "If they cut off money, there'd be an interesting crisis."
Former congressional candidate Krissy Keefer was there as well. When asked where she'd be if she'd been voted into Pelosi's seat, she said, "I would be here to provide leadership to San Francisco. San Francisco is really, really important, and we need to constantly reinforce the position that we play. The middle-of-the-road position that Pelosi takes squashes the best intentions of the Democratic Party." *
Sam Devine and Sarah Phelan contributed to this story.