San Francisco city government is cracking down on the Occupy S.F. movement, with public officials waiting until around 11 p.m. on Oct. 5 to move in and try to clear out the camp.
Police appeared on the scene in front of the Federal Reserve at the foot of Market Street in downtown San Francisco where roughly 200 protesters were camped out as part of the Occupy SF movement, and threatened to make arrests if protesters did not clear out completely within 30 minutes. The protest was a peaceful affair and the encampment had been in place since Sept. 29. The protest was called to mirror the growing Occupy Wall Street movement to oppose corporate greed and highlight the role of financial institutions in an economic decline resulting in a rising wave of foreclosures, unemployment, and cuts to public services.
Yael Chanoff, who was at the encampment on behalf of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, phoned in to report that police officers had issued notices telling people that they had to clear out because they were in violation of local city ordinances such as public nuisance laws, rules requiring permits for temporary structures, and the newly adopted sit/lie ordinance. Officers were taking photographs of the camp, presumably for evidence. Trucks from the city's Department of Public Works had lined up on the street, she said.
Roughly 50 police officers in standard uniform were there, carrying "stacks of zip ties," she added. Alexandra List, a protester, said that a commanding officer on the scene had told her no one would be arrested if the structures were removed completely within 30 minutes. Chanoff estimated that there were about 20 structures.
Chanoff said protesters were meeting to try and find out how to proceed, but some had decided to begin taking down the tents.
UPDATE: The Guardian spoke with SFPD public information officer Albie Esparza, who told us, "the sidewalks are being cleared of debris," and mentioned that protesters had been in violation of certain codes, such as a fire code prohibiting open flames that applied to outdoor cooking setups. "They have the right to protest as individuals, obviously," he said. Asked why it was so urgent that these codes be enforced at 11 p.m. when the streets are virtually empty, Esparza said, "I don't know what the reason was for the timing."