Police did show up at Justin Herman Plaza last night, riot gear and all, but a raid on the Occupy SF camp never happened. Rather, police decided instead to erect metal barricades around the camp, which of course only incited protesters, who obviously didn't like the idea of being caged in.
Police put up the barricade shortly after 6 p.m., saying they were concerned about the safety at the plaza, where the camp has started to read more like a chapter from Lord of the Flies. A legion of protesters have made it clear that they won't leave the camp without a lot of kicking and screaming -- literally. At least one person was arrested on suspicion of kicking over part of the barricade and injuring a police officer.
Police insist they had no orders to raid the camp, which has become a
sore spot for the city of San Francisco with its 150-plus tents erected
on the edge of the Financial District and the Embarcadero where tourists
visit daily. They put up the barricade to create a perimeter where police then did a walk though, where they reportedly found some pieces of wood that were carved into spears and could be used as potential weapons, according to new outlets.
But the barricades seemed to only escalate the tension, and the potential for chaos became apparent. By 8 p.m., police removed the barricades from the site, as protesters cheered them on.
"There's obviously a lot of pent-up energy and anger in the camp," Deputy Police Chief Kevin Cashman told the Chron. "The camp is obviously getting too big for the plaza."
Occupy SF, which is divided on whether to take up the city on its offer to relocate the group to a site in the Mission District, met again last night, but reached no consensus on the issue. The Mayor's Office has made no indication of whether a police raid was imminent.
Cops were called again to the camp at 3:30 a.m. Friday where there was a reported confrontation among campers. According to KTVU, there were some squatters inside the camp who were drinking, and when other occupiers asked them to leave, the confrontation started.
We will keep you posted as the day goes on.
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