Seven arrested in raid on former Hayes Valley Farm site 

click to enlarge Protesters who had occupied the former site of Hayes Valley Farm were banished during a raid by San Francisco police early Thursday. - MIKE KOOZMIN/SF EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner
  • Protesters who had occupied the former site of Hayes Valley Farm were banished during a raid by San Francisco police early Thursday.

Seven protesters were arrested early this morning during a raid at a former urban farm site in Hayes Valley that is slated to become a housing development.

Police gathered at the former Hayes Valley Farm at Laguna and Fell streets about 1:30 a.m. and ordered 44 people who were camping on the property to leave.

All left voluntarily except for five protesters, including three tree-sitters, Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

The two protesters who weren't perched in the trees were taken into custody without incident, Toomer said.

Police used a cherry-picker to bring down two tree-sitters. A third activist reportedly refused to come down with police. Instead he let go of a tree limb he'd been holding onto and landed on foam padding that was laid down by officers, Toomer said. He suffered minor injuries in the fall.

Two more activists were arrested outside of the property on disorderly conduct charges, Toomer said.

Protesters characterized the raid as unnecessarily violent.

"We didn't know how violent it was until recently when we saw people coming out of jail," said a man who identified himself as Ryan Rising, 24, of San Francisco.

Rising, a spokesman for the group that calls itself "Liberate the Land," said one activist suffered a black eye and another was injured when his face was stepped upon by a police boot.

The property in question used to be the site of a freeway on-ramp that was torn down after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In January of 2010, The City allowed the land to be temporarily used as an educational farm.

On June 1, a day after the Hayes Valley Farm departed the land, a group of protesters moved in and demanded that the property be left as open space.

However, construction is slated to begin on a 182-unit mixed-use housing project later this year.

"Forty of the units will be affordable housing," Toomer said.

Those determined to keep the property as open space have called the land "Gezi Gardens" after a park in Istanbul that has been the subject of recent protests.

After their eviction Thursday, protesters gathered at nearby Patricia's Green at Octavia and Fell streets. A meeting among activists is scheduled to be held at the park tonight at 6 p.m.

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