Hundreds of activists stormed the streets of the San Francisco financial district on Monday in a mass march and action aiming to “shut down” the system of “climate profiteering.”
Protesters marched down the city’s main thoroughfare, Market Street, and managed to block morning traffic for nearly an hour. Some demonstrators painted an impromptu mural while others blocked the entrances inside the Bank of the West Headquarters, prompting the San Francisco police department to shut down the entire building and make arrests. According to initial reports, 7 demonstrators were arrested for remaining in the street and there were reports of 15 arrests overall.
Dubbed “Flood Wall Street West,” the action comes just over one year after protesters held a mass sit-in on Wall Street in New York City to highlight the ties between capitalism and planetary destruction. Both demonstrations were organized under the banner “Flood The System,” a decentralized series of actions taking place in the months leading up to the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.
However, organizers say that left to their own devices, “Governments and corporations will only address the crisis we face with negotiations that propose minor changes and sustain capitalism. They only divert attention away from systems of, white supremacy, colonialism, patriarchy and fossil fuel extraction that created the crisis we face.”
The movement is based on the idea that it is up to the people “to say enough is enough, connect our struggles, and shift power back to our communities.”
An online statement about Monday’s action described how many of the institutions and industries specific to the Bay Area have profited directly “off of environmental injustice, economic exploitation, and oppression.” They write:
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“There is no time to waste—our economic system must be transformed,” the organizers state. “Through the power of people taking collective action we will build a future based on justice and sustainability and stop the climate crisis.”
Images and videos of the demonstration were shared online under the hashtags #FWSW and #FloodtheSystem.
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