Just before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, SFPD officers in riot gear moved in to clear out the Occupy SF encampment in Justin Herman Plaza. After making an announcement over a loudspeaker, Police Chief Greg Suhr gave occupiers "five or ten minutes" to clear out their belongings and leave the area. While most of the occupiers in the camp reportedly used the short time to pack up and leave the site without incident, around 30 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave the plaza. Later, another 40 protesters were arrested after the demonstration moved to the middle of Market Street.
According to the Chronicle, those 70 arrested were booked on "suspicion of illegal lodging and camping in a public park." Two were arrested for felony assault on a police officer after they threw a metal chair which hit a officer in the face shield and cracked his facemask.
When asked what provoked the raid, Chief Suhr told the press that negotiations broke down after Occupiers stopped returning emails from DPW Director Nuru. "What with the unprovoked attacks on officers last Thursday," Suhr told KRON4, "the situation appeared to be deteriorating inside the camp and outside the camp."
Mission Local also reports "a number of incidents where SFPD used force against protesters." Including SFPD officers on dirt bikes chasing protesters down sidewalks and one protester who claims cops rubbed his face in the pavement while throwing him on the ground to arrest him.
DPW crews in hazmat gear started power washing the plaza around 5:30 a.m. this morning. Occupiers plan to return to the site of the encampment for a rally today at noon.