All seven were charged with felony conspiracy and causing a public nuisance.
The three who climbed up 150 feet on the the cables during the nearly three-hour protest also face charges of public trespassing. The trespassing and nuisance charges are misdemeanors. All seven were taken to San Francisco County jail.
The banners unfurled on the bridge read "One World One Dream. Free Tibet" and "Free Tibet." The event was one of a series that protest the arrival of the Beijing Olympic torch this week because of alleged Chinese atrocities against Tibetans.
Ginger Cassady, spokeswoman for the group, identified the climbers as Duane Martinez and Laurel Sutherlin, both men of Sausalito, and Hannah Strange, from Oakland. She said the protest, which began about 10 a.m., was timed so it didn't disrupt the morning commute.
Today's San Francisco event follows protests in London and Paris as the torch makes its way across Europe before its arrival in the Bay Area early Tuesday morning.
Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom said "in light of what has happened in London and Paris - and on the bridge - the Mayor is evaluating all the information and conferring with law enforcement officials to ensure that the torch relay proceeds safely."
Ironically the protest
Bridge Manager Kary Witt said the Golden Gate Bridge District will review security measures and bridge officials' response to the incident. The bridge remained open during the protest, although one northbound lane was closed.
"Obviously we don't like it when someone can climb up our suspension cables," Witt said.
Officials believe the protesters hid the banners and signs in one or more baby carriages that they pushed onto the bridge. The three who ascended the cables are all experienced mountain climbers.
Police were in bullhorn contact with the climbers for about an hour and it took them about an hour to descend. At one point, officials said, Strange became tangled in one of the banners. A bridge iron worker helped to untangle her.
Kate Woznow who called herself campaign director for Students for A Free Tibet said the groupapologizes for the inconvenience caused by the spectacle. "We hope San Franciscans understand that this is an important time to speak out and stand up about what's going on in Tibet." She said the group planned several other peaceful demonstrations over the next few days around the Olympic torch events in the city.
Other groups, including the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, have also gathered on the bridge. Normal vehicle traffic, while slow, continued during the protest, but pedestrians and bicyclists were not allowed to cross the bridge.
Among the disappointed tourists who couldn't cross the bridge were Debbie and Hugh Harrison of Blackpool, England. The pair, in San Francisco for their 25th wedding anniversary, had hoped to cycle across the expanse. "I'm very disappointed," Debbie Harrison said. "I don't believe politics belongs in the Olympics."