Lively crowd takes over Financial District

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About 1,000 people gathered in the Financial District for a May Day convergence, blocking traffic at the intersection of Market and Montgomery and painting a huge yellow sun on the street with the caption “Rise up 99% Levántese!”

The lively crowd listened to music and speeches and participated in street theater.

Police were on hand in a line in front(415) 517-5910 of the Wells Fargo bank but as of the time of this post, there were no arrests.

In sharp contrast to the violence in the Mission, the actions have been peaceful.

The first march left 24th and Mission at around 10:15. Focused on immigrant rights -- long a central tenet of May Day in the US -- the event was planned by a large coalition including Mujeres Unides de Activas, HAVOC, SF Pride at Work, Young Workers United, and others.

The upbeat crowd of several hundred made its way to 16th and Mission, where police stood by as protesters took over the intersection for street theater.
A giant puppet representing the Earth held center stage. One player represented a banker; another tried to buy a house, but wound up homeless. When the victim of financial-sector greed sat down on the street, a “police officer” arrived to make a sit-lie arrest.

Tiffany Altamirano, with Young Workers United, told us, “My husband is undocumented. People are here whose brothers sisters and parents have been deported.”

The crowd took the intersection for about 40 minutes.

By mid-day the action had moved downtown, to the Westfield Mall, where a banner was dropped inside and pickets stood outside, showing solidarity with the SEIU Local 87 janitors who are in a dispute with building management.

Soon nearly 1000 converged on Market and Montgomery. Activists with The International Forum on Globalization giving away hundreds of books and pamphlets with critiques on global capitalism. A massive cutout of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein stood in the middle of Montgomery, looking evil, with a message decrying corporate power.

Almost two dozen SFPD cops stood guard, with six police vans waiting nearby to haul away protesters. But the authorities seemed to be just letting the party happen with no orders to disperse.

Steven T. Jones contributed to this report.

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