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According to multiple text messages sent by Occupy SF at 2:29 Wednesday morning, there is a “full raid going on at Justin Herman Plaza. Occupiers not allowed to return to tents once they leave the area.”
As of 2:41 AM, a livestream from the scene (embedded below) showed a confused scene, with police on “on guard positions.”
According to reporter Justin Beck (his livestream’s embedded above), who is on the scene, “it appears the encampment (at Justin Herman Plaza) has been raided.”
Messages left with SFPD at 2:55 this morning by the Appeal have not been returned.
According to the Bay Area News Group “Police in riot gear moved in to Justin Herman Plaza just after 2 a.m. Wednesday and began clearing out tents there.” BANG says that Occupiers were given “about five minutes to clear out their belongings before the police action started.”
According to Bay City News, “Around 3 a.m. additional police on motorcycles arrived and
officers were cordoning off areas of the plaza with yellow tape.”
As of 3:30, Beck reports, several demonstrators had been arrested on Market Street.
According to reporter John Osborn “At least 30 have been arrested after police surround market. Reports of cops pushing (people) into street who were on sidewalk.”
At 3:40 AM, Bay City News reported that:
Police this morning have dismantled the “Occupy SF” camp that was erected in October at Justin Herman Plaza along San Francisco’s Embarcadero, according to an Occupy SF member.
Ryan, who declined to give his last name, said riot police arrived around 2 a.m. and announced campers had five minutes to clear out of the plaza.
“That left no time to get personal objects,” he said.
Protesters are determined to peacefully resist, despite the destruction of personal items and tents this morning.
Ryan estimated at least 200 police have arrived at the plaza. They are threatening arrests to anyone in the streets, he added.
Campers, who had been sleeping before what seems to be a surprise raid, are mostly congregated at Market and Steuart streets, he said.
Video footage from a livestream shows police surrounding the plaza. Around 3 a.m. additional police on motorcycles arrived and officers were cordoning off areas of the plaza with yellow tape.
As of 4:35 AM, KRON4 broadcast is reporting that SFPD “has the situation under control,” and that SFPD has made “about 30 arrests, two for aggravated assault.” At 4:49, KRON amended that number to “about 50 arrested.”
As of 5 AM, KRON4 broadcast says that SFPD Chief Greg Suhr has told media that approximately 70 arrests have been made so far at this morning’s raid.
the Bay Area News Group is reporting that Suhr told reporters that at 1 AM today officials ordered campers at Justin Herman Plaza to leave, then arrested about 30 who didn’t comply. Another “20-30 protesters were arrested when they refused to leave Market Street” Suhr said.
As of 5:30 PM, Police officers have set up a shoulder-to-shoulder human wall blocking Justin Herman Plaza, the location of the now-vacant encampment of Occupy SF.
Behind the wall, hazmat-suit-clad DPW workers are dismantling the encampment. There are several garbage trucks on scene, which are being loaded with items from the camp, and DPW is “power washing” the area.
KRON4 is reporting that “dozens of protesters” remain out in the streets near the Justin Herman Plaza. As occupiers depart, KRON4 reports, SFPD officers are “following protesters on dirt bikes” to, KRON says, make sure occupiers remain on sidewalks and “don’t cause any damage to the Financial District.”
5:48 AM: In an interview on KRON4 broadcast, Suhr says officials made the decision to raid the encampment late Tuesday afternoon, “negotiations broke down in that there were no emails going back and forth any more with Director Nuru from DPW, who took the lead on this collaboration, and what with the unprovoked attacks on officers last Thursday, the situation appeared to be deteriorating inside the camp and outside the camp.”
Well over 100 officers, said Suhr, participated in this morning’s raid. He says that when SFPD arrived, they a dispersal order was made by loudspeaker.
Suhr said occupiers had “5 or 10 minutes” to leave, and that “about half the camp” left immediately. Those remaining were arrested.
According to ABC7, “there were about 100 protesters who were at the camp at the time, 50 were arrested.”
According to the Associated Press, Occupy SF is planning a noon rally at the site.
6:11 AM: Suhr has now told reporters that three groups of protesters were arrested, with most of the arrests for blocking Market Street at various times after police arrived. A police bus has since arrived near the plaza to pick up arrestees.
“This area was declared a public health hazard,” he told reporters. “It needs to be rehabilitated” now that the tents have been cleared.
As noted earlier, two of those 70 or so arrests were for aggravated assault. According to Suhr, those protesters threw a chair at an officer, cracking his face mask.
7:07 AM: The Chronicle has more details on the breakdown of arrests and charges: they quote SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza as saying that 30 occupiers were arrested in the initial raid, and another 40 were arrested when they blocked Market Street.
They were all arrested “suspicion of illegal lodging and camping in a public park,” reports the Chron, except for the two mentioned earlier, who allegedly threw a chair and an SFPD officer. Those suspects were arrested for felony assault on a police officer.
According to Mission Local, “there were a number of incidents where SFPD used force against protesters,” including an occupier who reports that “police threw him to the ground and rubbed his face into the pavement,” before arresting him.
7:31 AM: According to a text message sent by Occupy SF, “We have the courage to begin anew again & again. Noon rally at 101 Market, and emergency assembly at 6 pm at (Justin Herman Plaza) North.”
8 AM: In a statement sent to media at 8 AM, Mayor Lee says:
“San Francisco is a city that embraces free speech and freedom to assemble like no other city. I understand and sympathize with the anxiety and frustration caused by the lingering recession, economic disparity and joblessness in the country that prompted the Occupy movement that has now spanned the world over.
I continue to fully support the spirit of the movement that calls for peaceful assembly and protest to bring about social change.
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.
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.
In order to maintain public health, public safety and return the plaza for everyone’s use, City agencies peacefully and orderly ended the encampment at Justin Herman Plaza.
We expect people to continue their Occupy protest movement and the City will continue to respect and facilitate everyone’s fundamental right to peacefully assemble and protest.”