SAN FRANCISCO - While thousands planned to celebrate the Fourth of July along San Francisco's Embarcadero, hundreds of others voiced their concerns about the overall direction of the country. A protest was held in support of abortion rights near the Ferry Building.
Several hundreds of demonstrators dressed not in patriotic red, white, and blue, but in green – the color designated for abortion rights. They said their message this Fourth of July is that freedoms have been taken away.
The Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe V. Wade last month is something they call illegitimate. Now, there is a nationwide movement that is spilling into the streets with rallies and protests.
That included Monday evening in downtown San Francisco along the Embarcadero. They demand the federal government restore legal abortion now.
Protesters say the 4th is not a celebration, but instead, a call to action.
"July 4th, we're supposedly celebrating freedom in the U.S., but given that Roe V. Wade has just been overturned, that's really called into question," said Magda Cholewinska, organizer for Rise Up for Abortion Rights Bay Area. "To the millions of women that are sort of impacted by this decision, are they really free? Like are those women free? I don't think so. That juxtaposition between celebrating the freedom of the U.S. and what millions of women are going to be subjected to now that Roe V. Wade is overturned is pretty stark."
Traffic on streets in the area were blocked. The marchers headed from the Ferry Building toward Pier 39 where thousands gathered for the city's fireworks display.
Many people KTVU spoke with said this goes beyond abortion rights and includes other issues and challenges facing America right now, including gun violence, inflation and other controversial Supreme Court decisions.
"Since this country was founded it was founded on a lot of injustice and this is kind of the last straw," said Julia Smith from Marin County. "It just gets worse every year. It seems like every time we think it can’t get worse it does."
Smith isn't alone. Others expressed concern, outrage and fear that many rights are being stripped away.
"It’s not just women’s rights they’re coming for, it’s gay rights, it’s marriage equality, it’s voting rights in some states, and I have daughters who were immediately affected by the Supreme Court decision," said Aimee Dickson of Fremont.
The crowd chanted, "Rise up! Rise up!" in hopes of serving as a wake-up call and in sharp contrast to those who flooded the city to celebrate America's birthday.
"We're not free anymore, so what is there to celebrate?" Dickson said.
But the presence of the protesters offered some hope that there are those concerned and active about the country's current direction.
"I think it’s really important for women’s rights as a whole, supporting abortion for those who need it is just a fundamental right," said Kyle Marquis of San Jose. "It’s a time in American history that unfortunately a lot of things are not the same as they were before."