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San Francisco Protests Target World Leaders And Israel-Hamas Conflict During APEC Summit

The diverse group of activists includes those protesting corporate profits, environmental abuses, poor working conditions, and the Israel-Hamas war.

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Protesters in San Francisco are gearing up for a week of demonstrations during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' conference. The No to APEC coalition, consisting of over 100 grassroots groups, is critical of trade deals negotiated at such summits, asserting that they exploit workers and their families, as reportyed by AP. 

The diverse group of activists includes those protesting corporate profits, environmental abuses, poor working conditions, and the Israel-Hamas war. Despite the strict security measures around the conference venues, organizers express determination to make their voices heard. Suzanne Ali, an organizer for the Palestinian Youth Movement, emphasizes the need to hold the US government accountable for supplying weapons to Israel in its conflict with Hamas.

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San Francisco, known for its history of vibrant protests, has seen similar events during past trade talks. The police department anticipates multiple protests each day, emphasizing the city's commitment to upholding constitutional rights while discouraging criminal behavior.

APEC, established in 1989, comprises 21 member countries, including economic giants like China and the US. The summit features a CEO summit, and protests are also planned for a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The history of mass protests influencing APEC is evident, with Chile withdrawing as host in 2019 due to widespread demonstrations. Last year's summit in Bangkok faced pro-democracy protests challenging the legitimacy of the Thai prime minister.

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Rory McVeigh, a sociology professor, notes that protests can influence public opinion and occasionally lead to significant outcomes. However, the sheer scale and diversity of the San Francisco protests reflect a disappointment among activists who feel that the city is hosting leaders and CEOs whose actions, they argue, contribute to global crises.

Various groups, such as the United Vietnamese American Community of Northern California and the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, are planning specific protests against Chinese and Vietnamese leaders, as well as advocating for the rights of indigenous Filipinos.

Protesters voice their discontent with San Francisco's decision to host leaders and CEOs they perceive as profiting from ongoing global challenges. Nik Evasco, a climate activist, describes the situation as "sickening" and questions the wisdom of celebrating those who, in the protesters' view, exacerbate existing crises.

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