Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pic: SF Police Get
Statements from Cliff's Xmas Protesters

When I blogged yesterday about the Christmas Eve protest inside Cliff's Variety Store on Castro Street by pro-Palestinian activists, who want the store to stop selling SodaStream products which are manufactured in Israel, it was unclear if activists made complaints about alleged assaults to the cops.

This photo comes from Rae Abileah's Twitter account where she self-describes as a
"CODEPINK Co-director, Young Jewish Proud & Jewish Voice for Peace member, human rights advocate and creative activista," and shows two members of the San Francisco police force taking statements from two of the protesters.

We now must wait for the police to investigate the allegations and if they believe assaults did occur on the part of Cliff's employees, the matter is turned over to the district attorney who will weigh whether to bring charges.

Brock Keeling over at SFist provides details from the store regarding what took place on Monday:

SFist talked to Cliff's Variety manager Martha Asten on Thursday morning. When asked to give us the store's side of the story, she told us, "This group has been protesting Soda Stream for years now at Cliff's. On Christmas Eve, they came into the store unannounced and uninvited, straggling in and collected near the Soda Stream and announced who they are . . . I had to shout because I could not be heard over them. I asked them to leave and I called the cops. At which point things escalated and they put cameras in my employees' faces," Asten explaining [sic], going on to allege that one of the protesters even tried to sink his teeth into an employee. "The guy with the purple hair [seen in the video] tried to bite my employee," she said.

Given how this story has generated much attention on Bay Area blogs and Facebook pages, including a call from the Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers site to spend money at Cliff's Variety, and a vigil is scheduled in front of the Castro Street store tomorrow, Friday, December 28, from noon till 1 pm, I soon expect this controversy to receive attention from Israeli and Palestinian newspapers and blogs.

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