VIDEO: Frisco 5 ends hunger strike, calls for general strike of San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - About 100 protesters have gathered in front of San Francisco City Hall Monday morning in support of the Frisco 5.

The Frisco 5 ended their hunger strike after 17 days of not eating and are now calling for a city-wide general strike of San Francisco on Monday.

The demonstrators stopped eating on April 21 to protest the killings at the hands of the San Francisco Police Department.

They are demanding that Mayor Ed Lee fire San Francisco's Police Chief Greg Suhr.

After a 17 day fast and being hospitalized for two days, the Frisco 5 suspended their hunger strike so they can regain their strength to join the rest of the community on the front lines.

Three of five people who held a hunger strike to protest recent fatal police shootings in San Francisco have been released from University of California at San Francisco Hospital, according to a spokesman for the group.

One hunger striker was released Sunday night and two were released on Monday afternoon, while two others remain in the hospital, according to spokesman for the Frisco Five Max LeYoung.

"We're hoping the rest will be released tomorrow," LeYoung said.

The Frisco 5 do not see this as a failure, but as an opportunity to "help shape the movement."

The five have been identified as Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ike Pinkston, Edwin Lindo, Equipto and Sellassie. LeYoung did not say which three of the five had been released from the hospital.

They are asking the community to join them in a general strike Monday, May 9th. They ask that people do not go to work and keep kids out of schools Monday. There will be a protest at SF's City Hall.

On Friday, a dozenĀ of their supporters converged at San Francisco's City Hall to join in the demands for San Francisco Police Chief Greg Shur to resign or be fired. Authorities arrested 33 people.

They want Chief Suhr to be fired over the two shooting deaths of minorities by police and the revelations that officers exchanged racist and homophobic text messages.

If Chief Suhr does not get fired or resign, they say Major Lee should resign himself.

The Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place entrance was closed all day and the steps were blocked with metal barriers. Additionally, extra sheriff's deputies and police officers stood guard at all four entrances of City Hall.

No protest has been planned for Tuesday, LeYoung said.

Among the protesters were the parents of Alex Nieto, Elvira and Refugio Nieto. Alex Nieto was fatally shot by police in March 2014.

Lee last spoke with the Frisco Five via phone on Thursday, but no resolution was reached and the mayor said he stood behind Suhr, according to organizers.

Monday's protest follows a larger gathering inside City Hall on Friday in which nearly 200 people refused to leave the building, even after closing hours.

That protest resulted in dozens of arrests, according to organizers.

Additionally, City Hall sustained broken windows and damaged metal detectors, city officials said.

Suhr issued the following statement on Monday:

"We respect the protesters and their commitment to reform. We are relieved that the hunger strike has ended, as we never want anyone's health at risk. We want to work together to have the best Police Department possible for our wonderful City. I look forward to moving reforms forward with support from the San Francisco community."
Bay City News contributed to this report

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