SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Occupy San Francisco protesters teamed up with legal and housing rights organizations Saturday to advocate for housing rights throughout the city.
More than 300 people began marching Saturday afternoon along Market Street escorted by dozens of San Francisco police officers on foot, motorcycles and vans.
Many of the protesters chanted, “Banks got bailed out! We got sold out!” as some even tried to get inside a Wells Fargo bank branch until police officers wearing riot gear moved them out of the area.
At 3 p.m., a few hundred protesters gathered at the Occupy SF encampment in Justin Herman Plaza after marching through four city neighborhoods that have been hard hit by unfair housing practices, Occupy SF Housing organizers said.
The group, which represents Occupy SF protesters and legal and housing organizations such as San Francisco Tenants Union and the Coalition on Homelessness, is targeting banks, landlords and organizations that have stifled “the 99 percent’s ability to live, work, raise families and grow old in San Francisco,” according to a statement.
By 4 p.m., Amitai Heller of the San Francisco Tenants Union estimated that five to six hundred people had gathered near the intersection of California and Sansome streets in front of the Building Owners and Management Association building.
Heller said the gathering, which also took place next to a Chase Bank branch, was the last stop on Occupy SF Housing’s citywide march and protest.
Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the protests had caused only intermittent delays to bus traffic.
Earlier in the afternoon, protesters and local fair housing advocates met in locations in the Bayview, Mission, Tenderloin and Castro districts.
In the Tenderloin, about three dozen people, including several local fair housing practices advocates, met at 1 p.m. at the Civic Center to hear speakers discuss unfair housing practices they said were plaguing the neighborhood.
“We want to let people know we’re fighting for their rights,” said Russel Slayton with the Central City Single Room Occupancy Collaborative, who lives in a city-managed SRO.
Slayton said many tenants of privately owned SROs throughout the city are subject to sub par living conditions and evictions without notice, regardless of whether they have paid their rent.
“They don’t know they have rights,” said 60-year-old Linda Harper, who lived in a privately owned SRO in the Tenderloin for eight years before being forced to leave when the building converted to a tourist hotel.
“People have that fear of their landlord – you shouldn’t be afraid of your landlord…or afraid to ask to get something fixed,” she said.
Harper said she has no complaints about the conditions at her new downtown studio, run by Glide Memorial Church.
But she said that other formerly homeless acquaintances who have been evicted from their rooms without notice have not been so lucky.
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