Protesters with the “Occupy SF” movement have been warned again by police that they could be arrested if they continue to camp out in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza.
The notice, handed out to protesters on Tuesday with the heading “You Are Subject to Arrest,” outlined unlawful activities in the plaza including the use of propane tanks and open flames, public urination and defecation, as well as overnight camping.
An image of the notice, which had Police Chief Greg Suhr’s name at the bottom of the page, was posted electronically on the group’s website.
“These acts have been and continue to be violations of the law for which you are subject to arrest,” police said in the notice.
Police had issued a similar notice to the occupiers on Oct. 11. Then, on Oct. 16, citing the city law banning encampment there, officers ordered the removal of tents in the plaza and arrested five people.
However, camping has resumed there since last week, with no major confrontations between the protesters and police. “Occupy SF” organizers estimate that there are currently more than 300 people living in the camp.
“Occupy SF” organizers posted a response to the police notice on their website later Tuesday.
The response said organizers have tried to get a permit for overnight use of the plaza but were told by the city’s Recreation and Parks Department that no such permit exists.
The protesters also accused the city of “creating a sanitation problem by design” by only making portable toilets at the plaza available during daytime hours.
San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos introduced a resolution at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in support of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and its local counterpart. The “Occupy” movement started in September in New York and has spread to cities throughout the nation.
The resolution, co-sponsored by Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar, reads, “Free speech and freedom of assembly should not be limited to daytime nor short-term activities” and asked for the city to “address legitimate safety concerns while avoiding unnecessary antagonism.”
The resolution also asked Mayor Ed Lee “to direct the Police Department to ensure that there will be no use of force to dislodge the Occupy SF demonstrators and confiscate their belongings.”
The back-and-forth between occupiers, police and city officials in San Francisco comes as the protesters’ counterparts in Oakland were evicted early Tuesday from their encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza near Oakland City Hall.
Early Tuesday morning, Oakland police broke up the camp and arrested dozens of people, citing health and safety hazards in the plaza.
In response, hundreds of protesters took to the streets, marching through downtown Oakland on Tuesday afternoon and evening, prompting police to use tear gas in an attempt to scatter the crowd.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News