SFPD arrests 39 Occupy ICE protesters in encampment sweep

Dozens of protesters were arrested early Monday morning when San Francisco police raided an encampment of activists calling for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to police.

Police cited 39 activists on suspicion of misdemeanor lodging in public during the midnight raid on the encampment outside the ICE offices on Washington Street between Sansome and Battery streets, according to Officer Robert Rueca, a police spokesperson. Ten of the protesters were also arrested for allegedly resisting arrest.

All of the protestors have been released from custody.

Since last Monday, the protesters had blocked a path that immigration authorities use to transport detainees to and from the ICE offices at 630 Sansome St. The encampment grew amid news that the Trump administration detains and separates children from their families at the U.S. and Mexico border.

Rueca said police received “numerous complaints from the community regarding violations of health hazards,” including public urination and cooking with open flames. A majority of those arrested were Bay Area residents, with 16 coming from San Francisco and 15 from other Bay Area cities.

“Our City has specific restrictions against sidewalk camping,” Rueca said in a statement. “Frequent admonishments had been given to participants at this encampment over the last week and prior to last night’s action. But the blockage of the street continued.”

Zoe Samudzi, one of the advocates for the abolition of ICE, arrived at the encampment as police cleared it out.

“It was devastating to see all that labor and the community members scattered,” said Samudzi. “At the same time, it reinforced our solidarity because it showed the state is really afraid of us. It’s reassuring.”

SEE RELATED: ‘Occupy ICE’ protesters camp out, call for abolishment of federal agency

The sweep comes just days before Supervisor London Breed is set to be sworn in as mayor. PJ Johnston, a spokesperson for Breed, said the mayor-elect is “monitoring, but we have no comment at this time.”

There was hardly a trace of the encampment by 10 a.m. Monday when Josiah Luis Laderete, 48, arrived to participate in the now terminated protest. Laderete had come Thursday with a group of poets. But only faded chalk and sidewalk barricades remained Monday.

“I wanted to keep coming,” Laderete said. “It might be the Latino face that people see, but this effects everyone.”

“For me, it’s a matter of survival,” he continued. “That could have been my family.”

Both SFPD and the Department of Homeland Security were still present in the area Monday morning.

A woman walks past barricades outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters on Monday, July 9, 2018, where Occupy ICE tents were set up just hours earlier. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

iwilliams@sfexaminer.com

Michael Barba and Ian Williams
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