Police raid part of OccupySF

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Police dismantled the OccupySF protest and campsite in front of the Federal Reserve building early Sunday morning.

Around 1 a.m., police massed on Market Street between Main and Spear. They drove up to the Federal Reserve protest site, which consisted of a kitchen, small library and information table, and about a dozen tents. The 30 or so tents that had been pitched there for weeks were gone, voluntarily taken down by protesters around 12:40 p.m. Saturday, when police threatened to arrest and confiscate the belongings of anyone who continued to camp on at the 101 Market Street location.

Apparently considering that afternoon’s actions and previous notices concerning vacating 101 Market Street fair warning, police did not warn campers this morning before beginning to arrest. Six people who were sleeping in tents report having been awoken and put under arrest within a matter of minutes. Several had no time to put on socks or shoes before being dragged out of their tents.

All six were cited and released in a matter of hours, and arrived back at camp by 2:50am.

One man who had a small radio had heard a warning that police were present from camp security patrol about one minute before the police arrived. He says he had time to “spring out of bed” and exit his tent before police arrived and “Told me, ‘You need to leave now or get arrested.’ By the time I started to shake my head no they had already started putting the ziptie on me.”

Department of Public Works employees put tents and materials in DPW trucks police barricaded and blocked all of Market Street, including sidewalks, between Steuart and Main Streets.

Shortly after 1:00, OccupySF put out calls for support. Many heeded the call and arrived around 1:40 to the site. By this time, only the sidewalk was barricaded, and protesters continued to chant and argue with the about 120 police in partial riot gear who lined the sidewalk. A few tried aggressively to shake or take down metal police barricades and were stopped by other protesters and met with chants of “non-violent protest!”

For the next few hours, protesters slowly left 101 Market and congregated back at Justin Herman Plaza, discussing strategy and trying to understand what had happened. The raid was over in a matter of minutes and very few protesters had witnessed it.

The 101 Market Street site had been used by the protest movement since September 29, when it was established as the main camp site. The encampment had since expanded, and as of yesterday 101 Market Street was serving as the group’s “protest central,” distinct from the main camp at Justin Herman Plaza.

As of 8:00 this morning, about 15 police officers were still stationed, warming themselves by heating lamps that have been placed behind the barricades in front of the Federal Reserve. Barricades surround empty space on the sidewalk on Market Street from Main to Steuart Street.

 

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