SF Giants Fans Riot in the Mission After World Series Win
While the city of Oakland prepared for what they portrayed to be a riot on October 25th, San Francisco officials didn’t seem to be publicly worried about the riots expected to follow the Giant’s World Series win.
The night the riots were expected to hit, there were no vans of police ready to put a stop to it from the get-go, unlike many politically motivated events. (As in when 20-30 people held a rally for Bradley Manning in the Mission about a month ago, dozens of police showed up before any protesters did.)
I decided to cover what I termed as the ‘GiantsRiot,’ to show the harsh contrast between state response to political events and sports riots. I took a trip to the mission district in San Francisco early on in the night while many fans were watching the game on flat screen TVs in overly packed bars. With too many people in the bars, I decided to take a walk to get a better feel for how many people were getting ready to spill out into the streets. Every bar in the area was filled with screaming, chanting, drinking & singing fans. Some were chanting, “RIOT, RIOT, RIOT!” Hours before it began. When a beer glass was knocked to the ground, the crowd cheered in excitement to the sound of shattered glass.
As soon as the game ended, apparently won by a player with the last name, ‘Theriot,’ thousands of fans poured out of the bars and their homes, into the streets. It was almost like a parade had popped up out of no where as all the cars passing by honked in excitement while children and drunk adults hung out of the windows.
Block by block down Mission street, fans began to set huge fires in the middle of the intersections. They stacked what ever they could find to feed the flames. Garbage cans, mattresses, wood from construction sites, TV’s, and anything else that could be picked up and tossed was burned, apparently in celebration. Every business in the fans’ path had their windows and walls tagged with graffiti, mostly of people’s signatures and drawings of penises.
Though the police did eventually show up in force, the way they went about it was like something I had yet to experience. The cops seemed to actually not want to do what they were doing. Normally, their faces light up with excitement when they get to use their crowd control weapons and training. But this night, I saw many officers wishing they were on the other side, partying in the streets. I even saw one cop on a motorcycle high-fiving fans and buzzing his horn to the rhythm of the chants. The only time I’ve seen those horns used is when they’re running their motorcycles into protesters in a violent attempt to get them on the sidewalk.
When the police did finally move in to clear the area, it seemed like everyone all at once understood it was time to resist by throwing glass bottles and whatever else they could grab, at the police. I was hit by at least three bottles before moving away from the rioters targets: the cops. Sure, during a couple of protests I’ve been to over the year, things have been thrown towards the police line, but I’ve never seen so many so fast as I did during the GiantsRiot. As the police pushed the crowd down each block, the rioters set more fires and set up more road blocks as if they were actually trying to hold the cops back.
So why is it that the sports fans actions are not considered violent acts, or all the graffiti and broken windows they left behind are not considered to be vandalism? What about the $700,000 MUNI bus that was lit on fire? Or the cars that were stomped on & flipped over? The main stream media and police make excuses for the riotous fans, but condemn protests even when they are peaceful. It’s not like everyone didn’t know the riot was coming. This is to not say that I condemn the acts taken by this group of rioters, it seemed to me that they were peaceful up until the police showed up.
A homeless man’s shoe shining stand was torched during the riots on Market street, but even the donation page asking for help to re-build it excuses the offenders. The page has collected nearly $7,000 in just two days.
Notice the difference between the videos of October 25 in Oakland, and the Riots in San Francisco only four days later. Then ask yourself why the city of Oakland felt it necessary to publish multiple warnings to business owners and the general public about Occupy Oakland, and why the MSM and police downplay and make excuses for the sports rioters. Why also did the SFPD accuse some protesters of rioting back on Columbus day but none of the 40+ Giants rioters who were arrested are facing the same charges?
I just wish the energy that pulled those thousands of free spirits out into the streets of San Francisco that night could be used for good. They could have taken over the city if they wanted to. The local government isn’t threatened by sports riots. They know it’s only for one night, then they all go home and nothing comes of it. This is why I think they work hard to discredit activism and make it seem ok to riot when your team wins. To get that destructive energy out without accomplishing anything.
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