Demonstrators let off smoke flares and blocked the street. Picture: Joe Fitz Rodriguez/Twitter
Demonstrators let off smoke flares and blocked the street. Picture: Joe Fitz Rodriguez/Twitter

‘F**k Google’: street protest erupts

BIG tech has a certain aura around it. Silicon Valley is seen as being on the cutting edge of social progress and responsible for some of our favourite things. We love our devices, and in turn we fawn over their creators.

But for those on the ground living in the cities that surround the sprawling company campuses of Google and Faceook and other tech giants, there is a dark side that keeps simmering to the surface.

On Thursday morning in San Francisco, protests erupted with demonstrators targeting the staff buses that exclusively transport the tech employees to and from work.

Protesters blocked multiple tech buses for nearly an hour tossing scooters into the street to impede their path. Protesters let off smoke flares and held signs which read: "F**k Google".

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, demonstrators chanted "we are unstoppable, another world is possible," and carried signs that read "Techsploitation Is Toxic," and "Sweep Tech Not Tents."

The latter message refers to the city's recent efforts to clear homeless encampments and tent communities that dot parts of the affluent city.

The influx of highly paid tech workers has gentrified many surrounding neighbourhoods and displaced residents across San Francisco and made housing unaffordable for a growing number of people.

Local reporter Joe Fitz Rodriguez was at the scene of the protests and shared some striking images on social media, calling it "the most San Francisco protest ever".

Demonstrators let off smoke flares and blocked the street. Picture: Joe Fitz Rodriguez/Twitter
Demonstrators let off smoke flares and blocked the street. Picture: Joe Fitz Rodriguez/Twitter

 

It is not an uncommon thing for the buses transporting Google or Facebook staff to be attacked by people occasionally throwing objects at them.

Those involved in the latest protests claim while the city is ushering away homeless people, shared scooters (similar to the shared bikes that litter Aussie cities) are allowed to clog up paths and walkways.

Demonstrators tossed the scooters in piles on the road to block traffic.

"It's absurd scooters have more rights than the homeless do," one protester told the San Francisco Examiner.

According to local reports, prior to a sweep of homeless people in the area in April, there were 126 tents in the neighbourhood but only six homeless people were placed into short-term shelters.

"The city has been very aggressively sweeping people out who are living in tents and sitting on the streets. It's very, very clear that we are prioritising technology over human beings," local resident San Lew, 23, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

State Senator Scott Wiener took to Twitter to discuss the latest protests and implored activists and the tech companies to work together to solve the problem facing the city.


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