Union of Concerned Santas Shuts Down Old Navy
San Francisco - 6 santas, 1 angel and 2 elves arrested
Dec. 23, 1999. San Francisco. The SF Examiner caption that accompanied this picture read, "ARRESTS AT OLD NAVY. Nine members of the Union of Concerned Santas are taken into custody by SF cops in front of Old Navy's flagship store on Market Street Thursday morning. The group, which formed a human chain in front of the store's front doors with the aid of PVC pipe, accused the Fisher family, which owns the Gap and Old Navy, of clearcuttting in Mendocino forests and using sweatshop labor to produce its goods." The Santa action also made the evening news (two channels), KPFA, and pirate radio.

The Santas delighted onlookers with their Xmas carols tailored for the Fishers of Gap, Inc. Once they felt their message had been heard, the Santas cooperated fully with the police, releasing themselves from their festively decorated "tootsie rolls." At the moment this picture was taken, they are triumphantly chanting, 'Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Corporate greed has got to go!' while being handcuffed and marched into the paddy wagons.

The saga did not end there: The SFPD decided to play hard ball with the Santas charging them with felonies, making them substitute their beloved red Santa gear for the despised DAY-GLO ORANGE COUNTY ISSUE, and subjecting them to the SICK, INSTITUTIONALIZED DEHUMANIZATION that is the prison system.

However, after supporters bombarded the D.A.'s office with protests, all charges were dropped, and the last Santa was released at 10 PM, after 12 hours in the slammer. The Santas immediately staged an anti- Prison/Industrial Complex demo, shouting at the top of their lungs: "NO MORE JAILS! TEAR THEM DOWN! BRICK BY BRICK! TO THE GROUND!" Except for those gifts purchased at Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, all Xmas presents were delivered on Xmas Eve as usual.

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