On January 31, 1989 a group of about 80 to 100 courageous demonstrators shut down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at the height of rush hour to demand faster government action in stopping the spread of AIDS.
The CDC’s reported a cumulative total of 117,781 cases since AIDS reporting began in 1981.
Below is the original AP wire service article about the protest:
*January 31, 1989: From Los Angeles Times wire services
SAN FRANCISCO — A group of about 80 demonstrators shut down the Golden Gate Bridge at the height of rush hour this morning to demand faster government action in stopping the spread of AIDS.
The bridge remained closed for about half an hour until police arrived and made 20 to 30 arrests, authorities reported. The group, which called itself “Stop AIDS Now Or Else,” spread a banner across the width of the heavily traveled span and handed out leaflets to blocked motorists. Bridge Officer Lou Garcia said the demonstrators started blocking lanes about 7:30 a.m. and quickly succeeded in stopping traffic in both directions. The closure snarled traffic heading into San Francisco from Marin County on U.S. 101. Frustrated motorists shut off their engines and got out of their cars in an effort to see what was going on.
A spokeswoman for the group said they chose the bridge for the protest because it would be ″the most disruptive to people.″
″AIDS is disrupting our lives and until people’s lives are disrupted, they don’t pay attention,″ said Darla Rucker, spokeswoman for the group of AIDS victims and friends of AIDS patients.
″We don’t have the time to wait. My friends are dying all around me.″
The demonstrators closed all the traffic lanes by spreading a banner that read: ″AIDS Genocide; Silence Death; Fight Back,″ according to Highway Patrol officers, who called for police vans to cart off those arrested.
Some motorists stuck along U.S. 101 north and south of the bridge expressed anger at the demonstration and traffic tie-up.
Ruth Wheeler, of Larkspur, said she veered off the highway in Marin County, parked at a Safeway store and queued up with some 20 people to use five public telephones.
″People at Safeway were very upset. They said it was going to defeat their (the protesters’) cause,″ said Wheeler, who finally arrived at her destination about 9:30 a.m. ″The people said, ’Hey, if they think I’m going to be for them, doing something like this, forget it.‴
You can read the entire article about the event by clicking HERE