Joseph Schell/Special to The ExaminerGathering: Occupy SF protesters hold their nightly general assembly meeting in the middle of Market Street outside the Federal Reserve on Thursday night.

Joseph Schell/Special to The ExaminerGathering: Occupy SF protesters hold their nightly general assembly meeting in the middle of Market Street outside the Federal Reserve on Thursday night.

Battle of the barricades: Occupy SF, police clash

Historians might someday call it the Battle of the Barricades.

Complete chaos nearly broke out Thursday between Occupy SF campers and police, but after a long day, cops and demonstrators both walked away with few injuries or arrests.

Officers in riot gear came close to a street fight with demonstrators on Market Street in front of the Federal Reserve Bank about 7 p.m. when angry occupiers aggressively dragged metal barricades from the sidewalk into the roadway. Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said at least two protesters were arrested.

But after the situation calmed, protesters simply held their nightly general assembly meeting in the middle of the street as police stood guard. An hour later, protesters marched along Market back to their Justin Herman Plaza camp.

Earlier in the day, tents remained at the plaza despite a noon deadline imposed by Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru to dismantle the tent city. But tensions began to boil in the evening when police attempted to corral the camp with barricades.

“We’re not cattle, we’re humans!” protesters cried as the barricades were forcefully pushed back and forth between a throng of campers and cops.

One young woman suffered a leg injury in the brief scuffle and was treated by medics, police said, and one arrest was made. An officer also suffered a hand injury and was taken to a hospital, police said.

Shortly after cordoning off the camp, police removed some barricades about 5:30 p.m. About an hour later, protesters forcibly removed the rest, then built structures out of them in the middle of the camp.

Capt. Richard Corriea told reporters that police set up the barricades because they “just wanted them up,” and they would be needed for when campers eventually “move on.” He indicated that the camp was becoming a nuisance and a public health hazard. However, after tensions calmed about 8 p.m. Thursday night, police trucked off the majority of barricades at the plaza.

“This place is a public health hazard [and] has been for weeks now,” Corriea said.

During a walking tour of the mid-Market Street neighborhood Thursday, Mayor Ed Lee said The City wants a peaceful resolution and is still open to negotiating with protesters on a new site that officials have prepared for them at a fenced-in abandoned school in the Mission district. The mayor said Occupy SF’s time at Justin Herman Plaza could indeed be limited.

Occupiers have characterized the Mission site offer as an attempt to make their demonstration less visible by moving it farther away from the Financial District, which is the target of their complaints about nationwide income disparity.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Andrea Koskey contributed to this report.

Bay Area NewsDepartment of Public WorksLocalSan Francisco

Just Posted

ose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014. 
Rose Pak and Willie Brown at an event in 2014.
Willie and Rose: An alliance for the ages

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

Giants right fielder Mike Yastrzemski is pictured at bat on July 29 against the Dodgers at Oracle Park; the teams are in the top spots in their league as the season closes. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
With playoff positions on the line, old rivalries get new life

Giants cruised through season, Dodgers not far behind

Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Drivers gathered to urge voters to reject an initiative that would exempt Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy companies from state labor laws, in San Francisco in October 2020. (Jim Wilson/New York Times)
What’s the role of unions in the 21st century?

As membership declines in California, economic inequality increases

Most Read