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Activists respond to sit-lie with DIY benches

Sometime before 1 a.m. on April 11, a group of activists installed handmade benches at 10 different locations throughout San Francisco as a political statement against the city’s sit-lie ordinance. The law, approved by voters last November, prohibits sitting or lying down on city sidewalks.

A spokesperson from the group offered to share images of the benches with the Guardian on condition of anonymity. The person noted that the benches were built by hand using wooden pallets found on the side of the road. The images were sent in an email with the subject line, “Angry queers protest sit/lie with public art.”

The do-it-yourself bench installation was accompanied by a statement. “These benches are more than places to sit,” the message reads. “They are a visible resistance to the privatization of public space.” It goes on to list a number of reasons behind the action, beginning with, “We believe that public space should be for everyone, and right now it is being taken away from those of us who need it most. Those of us whose presence in San Francisco has made our city the radical and creative haven it has been for decades. Those of us who have the least access to private spaces (which continue to get more and more unaffordable) and whose safety nets (like our shrinking public services) are being continuously destroyed.”


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