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Residents and visitors react to increased police presence for APEC

SFPD vehicle
Thomas Hawk
Flickr / Creative Commons
SFPD vehicle

On Wednesday morning in downtown San Francisco, the increased police presence was hard to miss. On Montgomery Street, some three dozen officers packed into five police vans and turned right headed south down Market street.

A few blocks away, a group of climate protesters congregated to block traffic. Nik Evasco, an organizer, who lives in the Richmond, said the increased police presence did not make them feel safer.

“It’s kind of goofy right? They’re bringing in increased police presence to protect people who are known human rights abusers. When they could be investing the money for overtime pay, for bringing in the cops from all the other counties for social services. So no, its not making the city safer. I mean, nothing’s happening right? There’s no reason to say the city was not safe to begin with.”

Leon Kunstenaar shared a similar sentiment.

“Well, because I sympathize with the protests. And, uh, I think APEC is a scourge on the world and it's, uh, it's the institutions of the, uh, powerful exploiting the weaker.”

Razino Hall, an attendee of APEC from Arkansas, shared what he has seen downtown since arriving in San Francisco.

“It is insane. I tell you, you know, they're not doing anything. We just saw a fight. It was maybe 20 people fighting, throwing blows. Police came in and they peacefully broke it up. I will guarantee you, if there were 20 people that look like me, someone who would have gotten shot or beaten in the head.”

The APEC conference runs through this Friday. Demonstrations are expected to last through the end of the week.

Pat McMahon is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy, an audio producer, sound artist, and radio enthusiast.