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News + PoliticsProtestGaza protesters on Golden Gate Bridge jailed on felony charges

Gaza protesters on Golden Gate Bridge jailed on felony charges

Unusual CHP tactic guaranteed that 26 people spend at least one night behind bars.

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The Gaza protesters arrested in the East Bay Monday were cited and released, as most protesters are these days.

But the California Highway Patrol added felony conspiracy charges for the people arrested on the Golden Gate Bridge, ensuring that they would spend at least one night, and perhaps more, in jail.

Protesters on Golden Gate Bridge, April 14. Photo by Jersey Noah via AROC Bay Area

Under state law, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor—like blocking traffic—can be charged as a felony.

Rachel Lederman, a lawyer who is helping represent the protesters, said 26 are facing the felony charges. Since California doesn’t allow for the immediate release of people charged with felonies, they’ve been in San Francisco County Jail awaiting processing.

The jail is overcrowded and understaffed, and it’s taken a while. Some have been released this afternoon.

“I hope everyone else it out by tonight,” Lederman said. “This overcharging is just a way to punish people for protesting by forcing them to spend time in jail.”

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins will decide whether to pursue the felony charges. The first protesters will appear in court Friday.

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Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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