Photo: Quinn Norton
At noon on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, #occupysf protestors staged a march starting at their tent city in front of the San Francisco Federal Reserve down Market Street street, to City Hall, and back towards the Financial District by way of the Tenderloin. It was a peaceful and upbeat march with a cordial police presence, but larger than many, myself included, had expected. Stretching more than a block, I and other online commenters estimated it to be between 800-1000 people, from all walks of life. It was comparatively well received by drivers and other passersby.
After a peaceful day, it was in the late evening that trouble began. I received a call from someone on site at 10:09pm saying the protest was surrounded by 50 or more police with riot gear and vans, and that a notice of a police action had been delivered to the frightened protestors, who were working out how to respond.
The group chose a spokesperson to represent them to the police, Alexandra List (@sundeux on Twitter), who had been camped with #occupysf from the beginning. She liaised through the night with the officer in charge of the scene, Captain Orkes of the SFPD, both in person and over the phone. The police presented her and others with a flyer detailing the police demands, and told her that the tent city would have to be removed. #occupysf was not being asked to disperse, but all their materials would have to be removed. She took the demands back to the occupiers, who started a consensus process to discuss it. Read the rest