A demonstration against San Francisco's proposed grocery bag tax turned ugly yesterday afternoon when thousands of protestors rioted in the city's Golden Gate Park. The demonstration, hastily organized by Mothers Against Dumb Directives (MADD), got out of hand when some of the protestors who had arrived at the park with bags full of groceries began playing Frisbee with a Wolfgang Puck organic frozen pizza.
Protestors had been asked by MADD to dump groceries in the park to express their opposition to a proposed seventeen-cent charge for every paper or plastic bag issued by food stores in the city. "We didn't want to resort to littering," said MADD spokeswoman Jeanne Westcott, "but serious times call for serious crimes. And next to straight people getting married outdoors, littering is most controversial act of civil disobedience in San Francisco."
The demonstration looked like any other in the park for the first ninety minutes. The Dead played an acoustic set; The Silent Bob mime troupe performed; and the Guerrilla Queer Bar Players put on a one-act play entitled, "It's Not Our Bag." Then, as The Dead were finishing "Friend of the Devil," patrolman Tripp English, who was watching the Frisbee players, was struck in the head and knocked unconscious by a Wolfgang Puck Low-Carb Asiago-and-Porcini pizza.
When the unidentified protestor who had thrown the pizza attempted to retrieve it, Tripp's partner, Megan Cortez, flung it back at him from point blank range. Unbelievably she missed, hitting a member of The Silent Bob mime troupe in the forehead, opening a deep gash over his right eye. At that a man in a John Belushi mask yelled, "Food fight," and hurled a Trader Joe's vegan chimichanga at Cortez.
Ninety minutes later, after order had finally been restored, Police Chief Heather J. Fong, arrived at the park, which by then resembled a landfill. "Words can't express my dismay," said Fong. "I thought the people of San Francisco knew better than this. Look at all those food products that contain preservatives and growth hormones. That's truly offensive."
According to preliminary estimates, scores of protesters and police were injured; and one man was killed in the riot. The dead man, Warren Pease, arrived at the protest wearing a paper grocery bag over his head. He set fire to the bag because he thought he was attending a Burning Man reunion.
In related news, Police Chief Fong said that the man in the John Belushi mask who threw the chimichanga at Officer Cortez will face prosecution under the city's new Food Hate Crime law if apprehended. The law, which went into effect late last year, defines a food hate crime as "the throwing of ethnic food at an individual of the same ethnic persuasion as the food."