NLG Bay Area Chapter Supports Demonstrations Against APEC

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) is meeting in San Francisco on November 12-17 along with a parallel “CEO Summit” of major corporations, to establish “free trade” deals that prioritize profits over people’s needs, exploit workers, and destroy the earth. Attendees include President Biden, Philippines President Marcos Jr., India Prime Minister Modi, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, leaders from 18 other countries, and fossil fuel industry executives.

A large coalition is mobilizing to shut down APEC, with demonstrations planned throughout the week. The summit has been designated as a “National Special Security Event”, which essentially militarizes San Francisco under the command of the Secret Service, including the imposition of measures of mass surveillance, and an “exclusion zone” to contain what are likely to be widespread protests. The Bay Area NLG is collaborating with the Center for Protest Law & Litigation, Bay Area Anti Repression Committee, and Legal Solidarity Bay Area to protect activists’ right to protest and provide a legal hotline, legal observers, and defense attorneys and track and support arrested protesters as they proceed through the legal system.

“The Secret Service’s “exclusion zones”, checkpoints and massing of law enforcement militarize the entire neighborhood, and threaten to prevent the public from exercising its First Amendment right to protest within sight and sound of the summit participants. We will be providing legal support to protect the people’s right to speak out,” said Rachel Lederman, Senior Counsel with the Center for Protest Law & Litigation.

These mobilizations build on precedents of the anti-globalization movement such as the historic, successful effort to shut down the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, (and more recently against APEC itself in Thailand in 2018 and 2022), but also are building on the momentum of the local, national, and international protests in solidarity with Palestine during the last month.

“The APEC summit in San Francisco will be the first global summit since the Gaza war began, and thus provides a crucial, strategic opportunity to hold the Biden Administration and its allies accountable for US complicity with Israel, and for convergence between the Palestine solidarity movement and broader sectors that will be mobilizing in San Francisco against the impositions of neoliberal globalization by transnational corporate elites,” said Camilo Pérez-Bustillo, NLG Bay Area Executive Director.

The NLG Bay Area Chapter is a key part of the No to APEC Coalition and coordinates the coalition’s Legal Support committee. This has included training of over 100 Legal Observers and KYR sessions for participants. We’ve also provided key input regarding all the ways that APEC’s neoliberal agenda reinforces authoritarian régimes in contexts such as the Philippines and Perú. To get involved (particularly, LOs and California attorneys), contact No to APEC Coalition legal support coordinator Kar Yin Tham,


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