SAN FRANCISCO - An anti-vaccine mandate protest at the Golden Gate Bridge turned chaotic when two California Highway Patrol officers and three Golden Gate Bridge workers were hit by a vehicle while monitoring the crowd.
The accident involved three vehicles in the northbound lanes.
It happened about 6 p.m., at the tail end of a three-hour demonstration over vaccine mandates.
Three of the five victims were taken by ambulance to Marin Health for evaluation. The two others were assessed at the scene and released.
At its peak, the demonstration had grown to a few hundred people at the south end of the bridge.
Dozens of CHP and bridge personnel were acting as buffers between traffic and protesters.
People in the crowd were upset over impending workplace requirements that employees be vaccinated for COVID or leave.
"I lost my job," said protester Muhammad Ibn-Riqib, "and in a city that's so progressive it doesn't reflect what they do, I can't eat in a restaurant, I can't go to a movie theatre if I'm not vaccinated."
Mandates in health care, law enforcement and education are taking effect.
"There's a lot of Black people whose voices are silent in this fight, Black people who are going to be unemployed, we're talking about teachers and firefighters," said protester Hawk Newsom.
Throughout the afternoon, parking lots and bridge walkways were closed to keep the crowd confined and unable to march across or block the bridge.
There was only one skirmish, and arrest, of a protestor who stepped into the traffic lanes and refused to leave.
Then, as the crowd began to thin, came the chain-reaction crash that knocked people against the bridge wall.
Marin CHP says for an unknown reason, a Ford Explorer collided with a GGB sweeper truck, which veered into another bridge vehicle that was positioned as a lane buffer.
That truck collided into the officers and bridge staff.
By evening, the two CHP officers and one GGB employee who were transported had been sent home.
All injuries were minor, with no broken bones, but one person will need crutches for a while.
Traffic, already sluggish during the protest, became snarled after the accident blocked lanes, but was flowing again by around 8 p.m.