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2 arrested in SF Pride parade protest as cops, protesters claim acts of violence

Photo: Matthew Hemphill/Twitter
By Matthew Gerring - Published on July 01, 2019.

Police clashed with a group of protesters during yesterday's SF Pride parade after the protesters blocked the parade route for an hour, demanding the exclusion of police and corporations from the event.

A representative for SFPD said that two protesters were taken into custody: Taryn Saldivar, 21, of Oakland, and Kenneth Bilecki, 27, of Santa Rosa. Both are charged with resisting arrest and interfering with a parade route, while Saldivar has also been charged with battery on a police officer. 

Police say the protest started at 11 a.m., near Sixth and Market streets. According to the Bay Area Reporter, protesters broke through the barricades and formed a human chain across Market, arms linked through rainbow-painted pipes. 

Displaying a banner that read “Queer and Trans Against Kops and Korps,” the group chanted slogans like “F— the police!” and “Pride was a riot” as officers attempted to push them out of the way, said the Chronicle.

By 12:01 p.m., police had expelled the protesters from the route, and the parade continued.

In an official statement, SFPD that one protester "actively fought" with police officers, and that an officer sustained minor injuries as a result. Other protesters allegedly threw water bottles at officers. 

Photographs and video from the event, which show officers pushing a protester violently to the ground, have drawn criticism of SFPD's response on social media. 

The protester depicted in the video, who uses they/them pronouns, said in a statement that officers broke their cane and glasses. They said they were held at the police station for several hours before police allowed an EMT to take them to the emergency room.

"In addition to mocking my disabilities and claiming I was 'faking,' the officers misgendered me repeatedly – even at one point referring to me as 'it' and the 'guy with the long hair,' despite knowing my name and pronouns," said the protester, who asked not to be identified out of fear of further harassment.

The protester said they were discharged from the ER without a replacement cane, as well as their phone, Clipper card, or house keys. Unable to walk unassisted, they only were able to make it home because their partner found them at a bus stop.

"What happened to me is just one example of why I supported a protest whose intention was to demand 'no cops at Pride,'" their statement concludes.

With the protester's consent, their friends have started a GoFundMe campaign to collect money for medical expenses for injuries sustained during the arrest, as well as future legal expenses.

The parade protesters have distributed a list of demands, calling for the exclusion of police from Pride because they "uphold white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, gender binaries and capitalist rule."

They also call for corporations to be removed from the event, arguing that they "profit from our communities while simultaneously exploiting, investing and benefiting from the prison industrial complex."

In addition to those demands, the protesters call for greater visibility of “Black and Brown trans women" in the Pride celebration, an end to pre-Pride sweeps of homeless encampments, greater accessibility at Pride for disabled people, and an official acknowledgement that the parade takes place on land that was taken from Native Americans.

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