Occupy San Francisco protesters are calling for emergency rallies at noon outside 101 Market Street and 6 p.m. at Justin Herman Plaza in response to an early morning police raid carried out today, Dec. 7, which cleared the entire encampment.
Police made 70 arrests at Justin Herman Plaza while dismantling the Bay Area's last major Occupy encampment. According to a post on the Occupy SF website, "Bicycles, books from the library, tents, and people’s belongings were thrown directly into trash crusher trucks. Many occupiers were trying to leave the area and were arrested anyway. Many more elected to get arrested as a form of peaceful protest."
Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement about the raid, prefacing it by saying he supports the spirit of the movement. "From the beginning of the current Occupy SF encampment, I have made it clear to protesters that overnight camping at Justin Herman Plaza and on Market Street is not a sustainable or safe environment for protesters, the general public or City staff," Lee wrote. "In San Francisco, we took a measured and balanced approach and negotiated with Occupy leadership in good faith to disassemble the camp at Justin Herman Plaza. The City made a site available to the group, but unfortunately, communication with the liaison team designated by Occupy SF deteriorated to a point where it was clear that no progress could be made."
Lee added, "City agencies peacefully and orderly ended the encampment at Justin Herman Plaza."
Live Twitter updates told a different story. "SFPD threw away entire backpacks filled w/ computers, homeless peoples life savings.. very sadistic..behavior by SFPD tonite..." a Tweet issued by Davey D noted.
"Police raid and destroy OccupySF. OccupySF's kitchen served 1,700 needy people everyday at no charge to the city.... " reads another update by DefaultMovie.
Two hours ago, Occupy SF posted this update on Twitter: "Early morning raids can destroy property but not the movement. Reassemble today!"
**UPDATE** Most of the 70 people taken into custody this morning have been released from jail by now, according to a small group of Occupy SF protesters who've set up an info table and chairs outside the Montgomery BART station. However, several remain in custody on felony charges of assault on a police officer, after allegedly throwing a chair at an officer who was clad in riot gear. About 30 arrests were made at the camp, and another 40 were arrested on Market Street after protesters spilled into the street in response to the raid.
Yael Chanoff contributed to this report.