Supervisor and mayoral candidate John Avalos released a statement following last night's Occupy SF tent city closure by SFPD. Avalos was at the brouhaha, and negotiated with authorities to keep the tent city open, but was surprised and saddened to hear that cops shuttered the encampment soon after leaving the scene. In part of a written statement, Avalos said, "This is not the San Francisco that I know. This is not the San Francisco I love. This City has served as a sanctuary for free speech and assembly for generations, and we must protect that legacy."
Avalos' entire statement:
Last night I gathered in solidarity with the protesters Occupying San Francisco. Like many people all over the country, I have been watching this protest gather strength and grow as more and more of us, more of the 99% demand accountability from the corporations and people who are responsible for the destruction of our economy and devastation of our families.
I came to down to observe the protest last night in response to summons from protesters and a notice from the police accusing their encampment of a number of minor infractions, ranging from open flames on a city street or sidewalk to serving food without a permit. I observed and negotiated with police in good faith to keep the peace and allow the encampment to remain, only to hear of a crackdown shortly after I left.
This is not the San Francisco that I know. This is not the San Francisco I love. This City has served as a sanctuary for free speech and assembly for generations, and we must protect that legacy. With our unemployment rate nearing 10%, we have a responsibility to be a sanctuary for the 99%.
Instead, last night we witnessed that 99% being detained, arrested, and intimidated with force.
My vision is of a true sanctuary city - one that protects our right to free speech and assembly, and one that holds real criminals accountable. This should be a city for the rest of us - for the 99%. I stand with Occupy SF.
So far, this makes Avalos the first San Francisco mayoral candidate to make any kind of statement or support regarding Occupy SF or Occupy Wall Street, a movement that sheds light on the disparity between between the rich and poor.