An energetic day of action shows that the movement is very much alive
Soon, many other protesters streamed into the building. They held it, with no police interference, for several hours.
Around 9:30, police entered the building and arrested three protesters for trespassing. About 15 others remained in the building, but left voluntarily by midnight.
This building has been a target of protest campaigns in San Francisco since it was purchased by California Pacific Medical Center, which closed the hotel in 2009. There are plans underway for a hospital to open at the site in 2015.
The project has been met with opposition from unions such as SEIU United Healthcare Workers West and UNITE HERE Local 2. The California Nurses Association (CNA) has also come out against the hospital proposal. In fact, it was the target of a CNA protest earlier in the day Jan. 20, when protesters created a "human billboard" reading "CPMC for the 1 percent."
At a Jan.18 press conference, CNA member Pilar Schiavo said that at the former Cathedral Hill Hotel site, "A huge hospital is being planned with is being likened by Sutter to a five-star hotel. At the same time, Sutter is gutting St. Lukes Hospital, which is essential to providing healthcare for residents in the Mission, the Excelsior and Bayview- Hunter's Point."
Homes Not Jails, a group that finds housing for the homeless, often without regard to property rights, was crucial to planning the "Liberate the Commons' protest. The group insists that the 30,000 vacant housing units in San Francisco should be used to shelter the city's homeless, which they estimate at 10,000.
Wet and cold conditions were not what Occupy SF Housing Coalition organizers had in mind they spent weeks planning Occupy Wall Street West, which was billed as the reemergence of the Occupy Movement in San Francisco for 2012.
Yet for many, the day was still a success.
"The rain's a downer. But I think it speaks to the power of the movement, the fact that all these people are still out getting soaked," said Heller on Jan. 20.
Perhaps hundreds of "fair-whether activists" did forgo the day's events to stay out of the cold. If that's the case, then occupy protesters with big plans for the spring should be pleased.
At this rate, it seems that Occupy will survive the winter- and emerge with renewed energy in 2012.
This article has been to corrected. We originally reported that a demonstration at the offices of Citi Apartments was led by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). In fact, it was led by the Filipino Community Center and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, and supported by a number of organizations including the Progressive Workers Alliance, of which CPA is a member organization. We regret the error.