A surprising number of people -- perhaps 1,000 at the march‘s height -- followed a black “Antiwar Action” banner and punk-blasting boom box that was wheeled in a shopping cart down Market Street. As they had in October’s “direct action,” the anarchists completely outmaneuvered the police, at one point making an abrupt turn down Fifth Street and leaving most of the cops to themselves farther down Market. After some milling around at Fifth and Mission (and some spray-painting on the walls of the San Francisco Chronicle), the march returned to Market. An attempt was made to divide the crowd into two columns that would, for some reason, sprint down the street for 100 yards. But after 45 minutes the breakaway protest was breaking up. There was hardly much left of it at the very end, in the financial district, where a few kids broke some windows at a Starbucks and at the INS and knocked over some menacing newspaper vending racks. (Take that!)
All in all, these anarchists were no Weathermen, and the antics of a few boys and girls in black will probably not lead to the anti-war movement‘s unraveling. On the other hand, what are you going to say to make them stop -- that their vote counts? The true test of all of Saturday’s demonstrators will come once the bombs fall.