Occupy SF and Black Friday shoppers were at odds Friday evening as protesters tried to spread their message about corporate greed by blocking entrances to some major retailers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Demonstrators marched around Union Square just before 4 p.m. and then sat down in the middle of Stockton Street in front of Macy’s refusing to move as San Francisco Police Department dressed in riot gear lined up in front of them. The protesters explained they were there to protest Black Friday, over-consumerism and to fight corporations.
“We are out here today to protest Black Friday, over consumerism and capitalistic gains,” said Kriss Kranus, who was carrying a large orange and yellow Occupy SF sign. Kranus has been camping out at Justin Herman Plaza for the past two months with other Occupy SF protesters.
“Well, the issue here is we are actively protesting against buying stuff, against the corporations and we are here to fight corporations and the government, and they control the government,” Kranus said.
Eventually the Occupy protesters left voluntarily and continued to march. At several points in the evening they blocked traffic at the intersection of Stockton and O’Farrell Streets and at the intersection of Market and 4th Streets. This caused major traffic delays and disrupted public transportation.
“It’s not very nice, but we don’t really know what they are doing,” said one Fresno man who was stuck in traffic on Stockton Street as Occupy SF demonstrated in the middle of the intersection and blocked traffic.
Initially, the San Francisco Police Department explained that they were going to let the Occupy protesters continue to demonstrate in the street while officers watched from afar. This was until protesters tried to enter Union Square where hundreds of people had gathered to watch the Macy’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The protesters were then told to move off the sidewalk and were blocked from entering Union Square by police.
Those who traveled into the city to watch the Christmas tree lighting ceremony were less than thrilled by protesters blocking their view and impeding on family activities.
“I think there is a time and a place for everything. This is not the time nor the place; this is family time,” said Bay Area resident Geri Wright, who was looking on with a friend visiting from Portland, Ore.
Occupy protesters also blocked the entrances to Armani Exchange, the Apple store and Old Navy, causing each store to temporarily close at some point during the demonstration.
The ordeal ended around 9 p.m. and protesters returned to their camp at Justin Herman Plaza. No arrests were made.