We’re starting to get some field reports from today’s big Strike and Day of Action -- which culminates in a 5 p.m. rally in Civic Center Plaza -- from some Guardianistas who we have covering various marches. And it sounds like the turnout is big and lively.
Over at SF State, hundreds of protesting students blocked 19th Avenue before being cleared by police. Then, for those students who hadn’t walked out in protest of rising fees and declining class offerings, someone pulled a fire alarm and shut down classes that way.
Meanwhile, in the East Bay, intern Jobert Poblete is with a march that he estimates to be a couple thousand people that has taken Telegraph Avenue and is trying to go all the way from the UC Berkeley campus to downtown Oakland, where they’ll rally in the Frank Ogawa Plaza outside Oakland City Hall this afternoon. So far, they’ve met with little resistance or police activity.
Currently, there are already hundreds of protesters outside Oakland City Hall, which has been locked down, and the crowd is expected to swell to several thousand once the Telegraph protest and other East Bay events converge there. It's the same story outside San Francisco City Hall, where a rally is now underway with several satellite protests making their way there now.
See Alerts for more on the various marches and check back to this post later for updates and photos.
2:15 update: Brady Welch reports that around 100 Mission High students have walked off campus together and are now marching up Valencia Streets, banging drums and chanting slogans, with some SFPD squad cars providing an escort. We've also heard from various sources through SF and the East Bay that there's been more than a dozen smaller protests, many of them involving grade school children carrying protest signs. SF Public Press has an interesting report by a former Guardian intern on that phenomenon.
And a couple photos from Brady Welch:
This photo (taken from inside Oakland City Hall by my friend, Deputy City Attorney Alix Rosenthal, less than an hour ago) shows a smaller than expected turnout:
Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has issued a statement of support for the Day of Action that begins, "“I join the thousands of students, parents and teachers across California and here in San Francisco today calling for adequate, equitable education funding for our public schools and universities."
Newsom also opposed the Iraq War but never took part in any of the peace marches (unlike progressive members of the Board of Supervisors, who marched and gave speeches at the events), but I'm headed to the Civic Center rally soon, so I'll let you know if he makes an appearance. We'll have more extensive coverage of today's events and what they mean tomorrow.
UPDATE: Guardian intern Jobert Poblete was among 150-200 people arrested in the East Bay during the Day of Action protests this evening, a group that he says including several journalists. Details are sketchy in the brief messages that we've had from him, but most of the arrests reportedly occurred when the protesters briefly blocked Interstate 880. They've been taken to Alameda County Jail in Dublin where jail personnel tell us most of those arrested are likely to be cited and released sometime tonight. Meanwhile, a 5 p.m. rally at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco was packed with an exhuberant crowd of several thousand, the largest demonstration there in years. We'll have a full report of the day's events tomorrow.