Thousands of protesters joined forces to march from Embarcadero Plaza to the Moscone Center on Monday under the banner of No to APEC, a coalition of nearly 150 grassroots organizations. They brought various causes before the cameras at the week-long meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco.
“All of our movements are connected by a common enemy, which is U.S. imperialism,” said Kobi Guillory, in a public statement from the coalition. “We are here protesting against APEC because imperialism always violates the right of self-determination of oppressed people.” Guillory is identified as a Chicago public school teacher.
“We are here protesting against APEC because imperialism always violates the right of self-determination of oppressed people.”Kobi Guillory, No to APEC Coalition
Participants chanted various slogans, including “from Palestine to the Philippines, stop the U.S. War machine!” as the San Francisco police ushered the peaceful protest down Market Street.
“Thousands are joining our movement. We built this coalition from all walks of life, all corners of the Bay Area, from all corners of the globe that represent the 99 percent,” said Rhonda Ramiro of No to APEC. International trade agreements, they said, lead to the exploitation of labor and national resources.
“We don’t stand for what they are doing there in the Moscone Center. We don’t stand for the occupation and plunder of our lands, for the exploitation of our workers, for the squeezing of our blood just so they can make another billion dollars.”
Monday’s protest was part of a series of events planned by protesters this week. Organizer Nick Evasco said the biggest action is planned for Wednesday morning. That’s when APEC holds its ministerial meeting and a gathering of external business leaders from Silicon Valley will engage attendees.
President Joe Biden, China President Xi Jinping and other heads of state will be in San Francisco for the conference that started Saturday and runs through Friday.
The U.S. is hosting the APEC summit for the first time in more than a decade under the theme “building a resilient and sustainable future for all.”
People driving through the city this week can expect delays and street closures.
Bay City News staff writer Tony Hicks contributed to this story.