San Francisco Police Arrest Seven in Occupy Protest - NBC Bay Area

San Francisco Police Arrest Seven in Occupy Protest

Tree sitters were arrested in the Hayes valley neighborhood



    San Francisco Police Arrest Seven in Occupy Protest

    Seven people were arrested early this morning when San Francisco police cleared out an encampment of activists who were occupying the former site of the Hayes Valley Farm, a police spokesman said.


    The "Liberate the Land" protesters entered the site on Laguna Street between Fell and Oak streets on June 1, the day after farm proprietors left.

    Hayes Valley Farm opened in January 2010 under an interim-use agreement with the city that allowed organizers to temporarily use the land to build community and raise awareness about growing local food.


    The interim agreement has now ended and the land, owned by developers Avalon Bay and Build Inc., plan to begin construction on a 182-unit housing project there later this year.


    The activists have named the site "Gezi Gardens," after Gezi Park in Istanbul where anti-government protests have been occurring over the past several weeks, and had refused orders to leave.


    At about 1:30 a.m. today, police officers came and gave dispersal orders to the roughly 44 people who were at the property, police spokesman Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.


    Three activists were on platforms in trees and refused to come down, so police asked for assistance from the city's Department of Public Works, which provided cherry pickers that officers used to go up and arrest the trio, Toomer said.


    Toomer said one of the protesters tried to avoid arrest by climbing out on a tree limb, then jumping onto foam padding that police had set up below.


    The protester was not seriously injured in the drop and was taken into custody, Toomer said.


    Two others were arrested on the ground inside the site, and two more were arrested outside for disorderly conduct, Toomer said.


    The names of the seven activists taken into custody have not been released.


    Police remained at the scene as of 8:30 a.m. cleaning up the site, and Laguna Street was closed to traffic between Fell and Oak streets.


    The windshield of a nearby green Volkswagen Passat was smashed, but police did not say whether the vandalism was related to the protest.


    The land in question used to be the site of a freeway on-ramp that was torn down after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.


    While it was the Hayes Valley Farm, as many as 20,000 volunteers worked at the 2.2-acre site and numerous community events were held there, according to organizers.