SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — While Occupy San Francisco protesters repeatedly said they anticipated some kind of police action late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning to clear their protest site at Justin Herman Plaza, such a raid never materialized.
Law enforcement sources at the highest level told CBS 5/KCBS/Chronicle insider Phil Mater that the San Francisco Police Department never intended to raid or clear out the encampment. Rather, the sources said police were put on standby because they wanted to be ready in case the recently-evicted Occupy Oakland protestors joined the crowd with Occupy SF.
When it was determined there would not be a large scale joining of protests at Justin Herman Plaza, all the mobilized SFPD officers were released. A source told CBS 5 that SFPD Chief Greg Suhr received a text message directly from Mayor Ed Lee telling him that police could “stand down.”
Bay City News estimated that the Occupy SF crowd numbered roughly 1,000 around the Embarcadero early Thursday morning. Among those in the crowd were five members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (John Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar) and state Sen. Leland Yee, who is running for mayor.
The politicians came to the camp “because we strongly believe in the first amendment rights of everyone here,” Kim said, adding that she was confident a protocol could be developed that balanced First Amendment rights with public health concerns raised by the ongoing encampments.
Public urination and defecation have been problems at the camp sites where cooking in illegally pitched tents often involves propane tanks and open flames.
Supervisor Mar urged the Occupy SF participants to keeping their protests peaceful, saying that the city of San Francisco did not need a violent confrontation.
“We don’t want what happened in Oakland to happen here,” he said.
More than 100 Occupy Oakland protesters were arrested after police dismantled a camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland Tuesday. Riots and marches throughout the streets have continued since the raid where police deployed tear gas and other less-than-lethal munitions to disperse crowds.
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