Bay Bridge protestors push to get charges dropped

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Dozens of people rallied in San Francisco Wednesday in support of the pro-Gaza protestors who shut down the Bay Bridge in November. The bridge protestors and their supporters delivered a petition to San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office calling the charges against them “heavy-handed” and saying that they should be dropped immediately.

Many of the people involved in the Nov. 16, 2023, Bay Bridge protest gathered outside the DA’s office Tuesday upset about the misdemeanor charges against them, which include refusal to comply with a police officer and unlawful public assembly.

Their supporters include supervisor Dean Preston.

“What does the prosecution of peaceful protestors do? Who does that help? What does that accomplish?” Preston said at the rally. “The prosecution of nonviolent protestors does not make us any safer.”

Non-violent, maybe. But the November rally demanding a cease-fire in Gaza halted westbound Bay Bridge commuter traffic for roughly four hours in the middle of the APEC conference. Many of the demonstrators refused to move and even threw their car keys into the bay, requiring a team of tow trucks to clear cars off the bridge.

DA Jenkins’ office is standing by her earlier statement in which she said the exercise of free speech cannot compromise public safety and that there was a tremendous impact on the drivers trapped in the mess and required tremendous resources to resolve.

Originally, 80 protestors were arrested, two of which turned out to be bystanders.

The remaining defendants call themselves the “Bay Bridge 78.” The group and its supporters say they’ll keep fighting the charges.

“We know that DA Jenkins is standing on the wrong side of history. And we also know that the city and the county she serves overwhelmingly supports the demand of the Bay Bridge 78,” said Nadya Tannous with Palestinian Youth Movement

Some of the charges could result in a jail sentence of six months to a year. The protestors are expected back in court next month.

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