A planned protest against presidential candidate Donald Trump at noon today at 555 California St.—chosen because of Trump's financial stake in the building—fizzled out when far more reporters and cops showed up than protesters.
A gaggle of SFPD officers were stationed on the 400 and 500 blocks of California Street in anticipation of the protest organized by Michael Petrelis, an open government advocate, and numerous people stopped to ask why all of the officers were there. At least half a dozen reporters and about seven officers, as well as SFPD Central Station Capt. David Lazar, were on hand at the building, and more than a dozen motorcycle officers were on standby on the next block.
The lack of numbers didn't dissuade the four protesters who eventually showed up. Petrelis donned a rainbow-colored burka and carried a Donald Trump piñata decked out with signs that read, "#TRUMPNEVER, KKK and RACIST, HATER, SEXIST." A couple of times, he chanted, "Racist, sexist, KKK; Donald Trump: go away!"
At about 12:10pm, Melanie Nathan, executive director of the African Human Rights Coalition, arrived and delivered an impassioned speech. She said the protesters chose today because it's Super Tuesday, although they're not aligned with any specific campaign. "Donald Trump has been inciting violence; he's been inciting rhetoric that hurts people. We in San Francisco will not stand for any of that. We want to send a very loud and clear message that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamaphobia, anti-Semitism is not welcome in San Francisco or in the United States of America."
(Left to right) Melanie Nathan, Michael Petrelis, Jeffrey Kwong and Curt Wechsler.
After that, Jeffrey Kwong spoke to say as the son of immigrants and as an educator, he's concerned about Trump's anti-immigrant messages. A fourth person, Curt Wechsler, said, "We need to learn from history; that's a big part of the problem. There is a close correlation between Trump's views and Hitler's, to be frank."
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