Protesters Show Towards World Leaders, Israel-Hamas Struggle as APEC Involves San Francisco

Protesters Show Towards World Leaders, Israel-Hamas Struggle as APEC Involves San Francisco

Demonstrators maintain indicators as they march in opposition to the APEC Summit Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in San Francisco. A whole bunch of enterprise executives, overseas press and world leaders will descend on San Francisco for the extremely anticipated international commerce summit. (AP Picture/ Noah Berger)

By Janie Har and Haven Daley

Activists protesting company income, environmental abuses, poor working circumstances and the Israel-Hamas warfare marched in downtown San Francisco on Sunday, united of their opposition to a international commerce summit that may draw President Joe Biden and leaders from almost two dozen international locations.

Protests are anticipated all through this week’s Asia-Pacific Financial Cooperation leaders’ convention, which may draw greater than 20,000 attendees, together with a whole lot of worldwide journalists. The No to APEC coalition, made up of greater than 100 grassroots teams, says commerce offers struck at summits comparable to APEC exploit employees and their households.

It is unlikely world leaders will even glimpse the protests given the strict safety zones accessible solely to attendees on the Moscone Middle convention corridor and different summit websites. However Suzanne Ali, an organizer for the Palestinian Youth Motion, says the U.S. authorities must be held to account for supplying weapons to Israel in its warfare in opposition to Hamas.

“Even when they can not see us, as we’re mobilizing and marching collectively, they may know that we’re on the market,” she mentioned.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Sunday to listen to speeches from activists supporting varied causes, adopted by a march via downtown. Among the many voices have been environmentalists chanting “Stand up” and carrying banners that learn “Individuals and planet over revenue and plunder!”

They’re against the framing of “supposed ‘clear’ and ‘inexperienced’ economies which can be actually propping up company income,” mentioned Nik Evasco, an organizer with the local weather block of the No to APEC coalition.

“Any time there are so-called free commerce offers, what we’ve seen traditionally is that it’s actually about opening up pristine lands that go towards making a living for firms,” Evasco mentioned.

San Francisco has a protracted custom of loud and vigorous protests, as do commerce talks. In 1999, tens of hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Seattle throughout a World Commerce Group convention. Protesters succeeded in delaying the beginning of that convention and captured international consideration as overwhelmed police fired tear fuel and plastic bullets and arrested a whole lot of individuals.

Chile withdrew as APEC host in 2019 attributable to mass protests. Final yr, when Thailand hosted the summit in Bangkok, pro-democracy protesters challenged the legitimacy of the Thai prime minister. Police fired on the crowd with rubber bullets that injured a number of protesters and a Reuters journalist.

Chief Invoice Scott of the San Francisco Police Division mentioned he expects a number of protests a day, though it is unsure what number of will materialize. He warned in opposition to prison habits.

“Individuals are welcome to train their constitutional rights in San Francisco, however we won’t tolerate folks committing acts of violence, or property destruction or every other crime,” Scott mentioned. “We are going to make arrests when needed.”

APEC, a regional financial discussion board, was established in 1989 and has 21 member international locations, together with the world’s two largest financial superpowers — China and the U.S — in addition to Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines. An accompanying CEO summit is scheduled for this week, which critics additionally plan to protest Wednesday.

Headlining the summit is a extremely anticipated assembly between Biden and Chinese language President Xi Jinping, who not often — if in any respect — encounters protesters on house soil.

China has heavy safety forward of any occasions inside its borders to make sure no protests happen. It additionally steps up border checks at metropolis limits and at transit factors comparable to railway stations and airports. Human rights activists based mostly in China will usually obtain visits or telephone calls from police forward of essential occasions as reminders to not show.

Rory McVeigh, sociology professor and director of the Middle for the Research of Social Actions on the College of Notre Dame, mentioned politicians use protests to gauge public opinion and that media consideration helps.

“Most likely lots of protests simply don’t make a lot distinction, however often they do, and sometimes they’ll make an enormous distinction,” he mentioned.

The United Vietnamese American Neighborhood of Northern California plans to protest Xi and Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong. The Worldwide Coalition for Human Rights within the Philippines can be rallying for the rights of Indigenous Filipinos and protesting the presence of President Bongbong Marcos, the son of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Protesters are disenchanted that San Francisco, with its wealthy historical past of standing up for the working class, would host CEOs of corporations and leaders of nations that they are saying do nice hurt.

“It is foolish, from the mayor to the governor to the president, they need to say it is a nice concept to have all these individuals who have been profiting off the intersecting crises of our time,” Evasco mentioned. “It is simply sickening.”

Related Press author Huizhong Wu in Bangkok contributed to this report.