Police and merchants in San Francisco’s Mission District were cleaning up this morning after protesters vandalized dozens of businesses and cars in the neighborhood on Monday night.
The vandalism began shortly after 9 p.m. at the Mission Police Station at 17th and Valencia streets, according to police Capt. Robert Moser, who oversees the station.
Moser said the “event unfolded rather quickly” with more than 100 protesters traveling north on Valencia Street and causing destruction along the way.
Seventeen vehicles and more than 20 businesses were damaged, as well as the police station, where protesters smashed windows and splattered the building with paint.
The protesters eventually dispersed near 12th and Folsom streets, and only one person was arrested, a male who was cited for vehicle code violations and resisting arrest and later released, Moser said.
The protest had started out as a peaceful Occupy rally at nearby Dolores Park but a splinter group from the gathering broke off and began causing havoc in the area, said Jesse Smith, a protester with Occupy Oakland.
Smith said he was “more than a little shaken” by the vandalism and did not know who was responsible.
Rush Jones, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was frustrated with the protesters.
“There’s a fine line between vandalism and having a cause,” Jones said. “I don’t think they achieved anything at all.”
He criticized the vandals for seemingly targeting small businesses in the neighborhood rather than large banks and corporations.
“Mom and pop shops … are hard enough to get going in San Francisco,” he said.
He also said he thinks that police could have been quicker to respond, since the problems started right in front of the police station.
Moser said police wanted to “make sure we had enough officers to ensure police and public safety” before taking action against the large group.
He said the Police Department would be proactive in reaching out to businesses in the neighborhood that were affected.
“We’re going to let the businesses know and the community know that we’re going to have numerous officers out to ensure their safety,” he said.
Moser said the department will have extra officers on hand today for May Day protests.
Elsewhere: Valencia Street Businesses, Cars Trashed [ML@L]
Protesters Trash Valencia Street Businesses In Early May Day Demonstration [SFist]
Mission restaurants recover after last night’s May Day mess [Chron]
Mission District cleans up after rowdy night [ABC7]
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News