Occupy SF Prepares for Late Night Raid, BART Shut Down

Protesters say all the signs of a police raid are in the air.

Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011  |  Updated 11:16 PM PDT
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Occupy SF Prepares for Late Night Raid

Mat Luschek

A small group of Occupy SF protesters gathered outside City Hall sending a message to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

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Demonstrators with the "Occupy SF" movement are bracing for a brush with authorities Wednesday night after receiving a warning from police that the camp near the Ferry Building continues to violate local laws.

Ryan, a media representative for the camp identified only by his first name, said that the group is expecting police to descend on the camp at Justin Herman Plaza at either midnight or 3 a.m.

"A lot of people are already walking around with gas masks and goggles," he said, noting that they were taking additional unspecified precautions in the wake up the ongoing strive at Occupy Oakland.

The group said it met with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Wednesday during the day to persuade him to work with them to resolve any sanitation issues. But the group said Lee told them a shut down was inevitable.

BART's Embarcadero station was closed Wednesday by 11 p.m. because of civil disturbance, transit officials said.
      
The station is near the site of "Occupy SF" where protesters are rallying in the face of possible eviction by police.

The Occupy SF group plans to hold its ground at the site, which according to law enforcement is in violation of the law for the use of propane tanks and open flames, public urination and defecation, and overnight camping.

As long as police do not remove all people occupying the public space, the group plans to stay at the park, Ryan said. Otherwise, "Occupy SF" members plan to regroup Thursday afternoon in front of the Federal Reserve building and Civic Center.

A notice outlining the violations was handed out to protesters on Tuesday. Police had issued a similar notice to the occupiers on Oct. 11 before raiding the group's initial encampment at the Federal Reserve on Oct. 16. Five people were arrested in that raid.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr issued the warning via letter on Tuesday evening, according to the San Francisco Examiner. The campers, who have been set up in the park near The Embarcadero since early October, are violating city law by using flames to cook and by camping overnight, according to the police.

Even though the group has been in continuous violation of the law, organizers said that they are doing their best to remedy the problems as they are pointed out.

"We appreciate the health department and the fire department giving us some feedback on their guidelines," Ryan said. He was less grateful to police.

"They're just trying to get us out of this park regardless," he said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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