Occupying Westfield mall few minutes ago #occupysf #ftp #oo #ows

An Occupy SF demonstration that wound through Downtown San Francisco Friday night blocked traffic and led to scattered incidents of vandalism and at least one arrest, police said.

Police monitored a group of protesters who gathered in the 100 block of Market Street around 5 p.m. Friday and began marching westbound on Market Street two hours later.
Marching along streets near Union Square, some demonstrators stopped at intersections and blocked traffic, police said.

Police said that when the march reached Stockton and Sutter Streets, several protesters dragged construction barricades into the street, temporarily blocking traffic.

Officers monitoring the march removed some of the obstacles placed in the road by demonstrators, police said.

At another point during the march, a group of protesters entered the Westfield San Francisco Centre at 865 Market Street and confronted mall security employees.

Police said that encounter led to a brief physical confrontation but that no injuries or damage were reported.

Another group of protesters on Eddy Street briefly surrounded a police patrol car en route to a report of a male assaulting a female in the Tenderloin District, police said.

One member of that group kicked and damaged the patrol car’s door, according to police.

As the march wound down, at least one passing motorist’s window was smashed by a demonstrator on Market Street, police said.

That driver left the scene and was not found by police, but officers located and arrested a man the Chron identifies as Richard J. Barksdale of San Francisco, 44, suspected of smashing the car’s window.

A protestor, who asked to go only by the name Ryan due to a pending court case, said that the march was organized by Occupy SF to protest repression and harassment by police. He argued that the police had reacted violently to peaceful camps and other means of protest.

“If the police are going to keep violently repressing us than we need to start calling them on it,” Ryan said.

“It was a successful march,” he said of Friday’s event. “I prefer actions that actually end up creating alternative space, but we did get to assert our right to be in the city, so that was good.”

Ryan said that Occupy SF expects to take part in an “Occupy the Food System” protest on Feb. 27 that could involve attempts to start community gardens on vacant lots, start food exchanges and label foods in stores that contain genetically modified ingredients.

Photo of demonstrators as they occupied Westfield Mall: Steve Rhodes

Elsewhere: Occupy SF March against police repression [IndyBay]
One arrested in Friday’s Occupy S.F. march [Chron]

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