San Francisco police detain protesters at Israeli consulate

By Thomson Reuters Jun 3, 2024 | 4:53 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – San Francisco police detained a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who entered the lobby of the building housing the Israeli consulate after they refused to leave, authorities said on Monday.

An unspecified number of people were “detained for potential arrest,” police said in a statement. “Officers have been making multiple warnings to the individuals to disperse and exit the private property on their own.”

A Reuters witness estimated about 50 people were inside the building on the ground floor. Police led protesters out of the building one-by-one and loaded them into police vehicles, their hands bound by zip ties.

Protesters, who were voicing opposition to Israel’s incursion into Gaza, had said they planned to stay until forcibly removed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported from the scene.

A group called the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network said on Instagram that 100 people participated in the protest. The network, which says its membership is Jewish, posted images of banners they hung such as, “Committing a genocide makes Jews less safe; Not in my name!”

The Israeli consulate said it was “appalled, but not surprised” by the protesters who entered the lobby of the building where the consulate is located. The Israeli statement labeled the protesters as “pro-Hamas rioters.” The consulate added that the police responded rapidly.

At least 36,479 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s eight-month-old assault on the Gaza Strip, say health officials in the Hamas-ruled enclave. The war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and abducting some 250 others, of whom some 120 are believed to remain in captivity in Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

(Reporting by Carlos Barria in San Francisco, Kanishka Singh in Washington and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Editing by Josie Kao)