‘Occupy SF’ Protests Flare Up On Market Street; SoCal Protests Grow

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – At least one person was arrested in downtown San Francisco Thursday morning as police moved on protesters who were blocking Market St. in solidarity with the New York City Wall Street protests.  Meanwhile, similar protests were seen in other U.S. cities, with a number of arrests reported at a downtown Los Angeles protest Thursday.

PICTURES: Bay Area Occupy Protests

San Francisco protesters demonstrated through the night after marching through the Financial District Wednesday, but at 2:00 a.m. police decided there was too much debris on the sidewalks, and asked the Department of Public Works to begin clearing it from the front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. This angered the protesters who surrounded DPW trucks in the middle of Market Street. Police cleared a path, and the trucks sped off.

Protesters then ran down Main Street towards Mission, where they sat in front of a Muni bus. That’s where one protester, 26-year-old Kevin Hernandez, was arrested for battery on a police officer.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Protesters associated with the group “Occupy SF” have been camping out in the city’s Financial District for the last couple of weeks. The group staged several demonstrations and events Wednesday, including a midday march through the city’s Civic Center in which some 200 people marched up Polk Street.

The occupation is being held in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, which describes itself on its website as a “leaderless resistance movement” using nonviolent means to protest the nation’s growing disparities between the rich and poor.

In Los Angeles, police arrested about 11 anti-Wall Street demonstrators who entered a Bank of America during a downtown march by hundreds of people.

The arrests Thursday afternoon came at the end of a demonstration that moved among high-rises housing the offices of banks and other financial institutions.

Many are calling the anti-Wall Street movement the left wing’s answer to the Tea Party, with many feeling that this seems to be an organic protest movement, unlike any the Bay Area has seen before. There are no leaders, instead the protesters use an idea called the “people’s microphone” to amplify announcements and make decisions by vote.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Another difference is that the veteran political demonstrators seem to be outnumbered by first-timers, like Mark Schwetz, a former FedEx driver who lost his home to foreclosure in Petaluma, and now rents a room in Berkeley, where he’s working as a carpenter.

“We’re tired of the way things are,” said Schwetz. “The status quo isn’t working anymore.”

Schwetz said that this isn’t about class warfare, but instead it’s about fighting back, for economic justice.

“We’re not just a bunch of greedy people wanting handouts,” said Schwetz, his voice wavering. “I worked hard for that house, and I lost everything I had when that happened to me, and I want it back.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from All News KCBS

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live