San Francisco, December 20 – As the Apple employee shuttle was being detained on Friday by an organized protest, Apple employees sitting inside attentively looked on as an estimated 100 – 150 people surrounded their wi-fi equipped luxury bus chanting, “Join us, get off the bus!”
Protesters organized by the “Our Mission, No Eviction” and “Eviction Free San Francisco” activist groups gathered at the corner of 24th and Mission, then proceeded in unified march to the corner of Valencia and 24th where they detained the scheduled 9:00 am Apple shuttle at its usual stop. The protest lasted 45 minutes and ended in peaceful disbursement of the crowd by San Francisco Police Department employees who initially arrived at the scene to ensure morning commuters got safe passage around the protest which by then had spilled into the streets.
The core sentiment expressed by the protesters was that the city of San Francisco is giving preferential treatment to the new tech class and their employers over its long-term residents, as evidenced by the tax breaks and cost-saving privileges the tech companies are receiving. The spiking rate of displaced families being forced out of the Mission District through unfair evictions is being directly attributed to the provisions in the Ellis Act which make it possible for real estate holders to convert rent controlled and low-cost housing into high-profit housing, typically only affordable by highly paid tech workers. The process of monetizing those properties is allegedly sometimes involving unfair or illegal practices on behalf of the landlords.
The demands of the protesters are:
- A moratorium on all no-fault evictions
- Preservation of rent-controlled housing
- Preservation of the heart of the city
- A city that cares for its elders, artists, families, and culture
- A city where all residents are valued and respected
- Investment in all people, not just tech
While the Apple employees never did get off the bus for comment, their facial expressions were worth a thousand words.
Photography by Harvey Castro | Studio369 Photography | http://www.studio369.com