leslie.jpgA group of protesters who occupied a vacant residential hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood overnight fled today before police could arrest them.

A group of 18 protesters representing the homeless advocacy group Creative Housing Liberation occupied the Leslie Hotel at Eddy and Larkin streets late Sunday afternoon.

The group was trying to call attention to the thousands of San Franciscans who are homeless on any given night, saying many more housing units in the city that remain vacant could be used to house them.

Officers entered the six-story hotel late this morning but the protesters had already left, “apparently by way of the roof, to adjoining buildings,” police spokesman Sgt. Mike Andraychak said.

The group had left various kinds of obstacles and blockades inside the building, Andraychak said. He added that damage was done to the interior of the hotel, including holes in walls and broken doors.

A statement released this afternoon by Creative Housing Liberation said the protesters “chose not to take a voluntary arrest, and were able to evade the police.”

One apparent occupier quoted in the statement, Matt Crain, said, “There are tens of thousands of units of empty housing in San Francisco while thousands of us remain on the streets, victims of a real estate economy based on speculation and an economic system that values the rights of unused private property over human rights and people’s lives.”

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!