San Francisco News

Lee: Tents must come down at 'Occupy SF'

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupiers in San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza are waiting to see if they're next to be evicted. Their encampment has expanded to another block of Market Street, much to the displeasure of Mayor Ed Lee.

There are tents set up on the sidewalk along Market Street. They were recently set up over the weekend. Police posted new notices telling protesters they can't block the sidewalk, but the tents are still there. The question is will the city take action.

Protesters watched nervously as officers began stacking barricades at the foot of Justin Herman Plaza, Monday afternoon.

Those at "Occupy SF" know that what happened in Oakland can occur here. On October 16th in the middle of the night, police raided the Occupy SF camp and tore down tents, arresting dozens of people. The occupiers have been meeting to discuss strategy in the event it happens again.

"Do we have a live stream? Do we come to that? What kind of marches do we do? Are we sitting down and chain linking you know?" said Kames Geraghty, an Occupy SF protester.

Many are counting on elected representatives to come to their aid. Supervisor John Avalos co-authored a resolution that calls for the city to support Occupy.

"We want to make sure that whenever we can, not to use police force to dislodge the occupation," said Avalos.

So far, the mayor has had two meetings with union and church leaders and representatives of the movement. Occupiers tell us the dialogue has been crucial in avoiding a confrontation.

"It's our ties with the community. It's our ties with police and definitely the new mayor, Lee," said Sean Valentino, an Occupy SF protester.

But the major obstacle in these talks are the tents. The mayor still says they must come down. Making it worse, this weekend the protesters occupied yet another block of Market -- the one across the street from the Federal Reserve building, where they've been camped out since the beginning.

"Due to more people coming into camp on a daily basis, we were forced to make an emergency move up Market. We did so. The mayor is obviously concerned about that," said Sean Semans, an Occupy SF protester.

But protesters say those new arrivals are not apparently from across the bay.

"We've some people from Oakland come over, but not a huge portion," said Semans.

Another meeting with the protesters and the mayor is scheduled on Wednesday and that will be the third meeting since the Occupation. The big concern is still the tents and what police say is rising crime in the encampment. Around 3 p.m. Monday, officers responded to a fight in the middle of the camp. They say about 30 people were involved, but the protesters refused police help, saying they could take care of it themselves and the police left.

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occupy wall street, protest, ed lee, occupy sf, san francisco news, vic lee
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