A group of protesters showed up early for the Occupy May Day General Strike Monday evening. What started as a small after dark gathering of Occupiers over sandwiches and Capri Suns in Dolores Park ended with smashed windows and vandalism along Valencia Street. Although Occupy San Francisco released a statement (that has since been removed this morning) condemning what appears to be a splinter group, last night's smash-up was apparently planned for weeks as a "ruckus [sic] street party to counter gentrification, capitalism, and the policing of our communities."
From the call to action for the Strike Starts Early Street Park: [Note: Although the page, dated April 13th, was accessible Monday evening, it has since been removed from Occupy's May 1st General Strike site. Here is a cached version saved by Google.]
San Francisco, once a stronghold of the dispossessed, has become a playground for the rich and a living hell for those of us who can’t keep up or have no interest in capitalist relations. Homelessness, gentrification, racist police murders, the displacement of all that is queer, outrageous rent prices, our list is endless: it is time to reclaim our playground.
According to Mission Local, businesses in the area like Bar Tartine, Four Barrel Coffee and Farina were vandalized as a group of about 60-70 protesters, some armed with crowbars, baseball bats and paint bombs, marched from 18th Street to Duboce Ave.
About 15 police officers in riot gear stood guard in front of the Mission Police Station at 17th and Valencia, were protesters reportedly hit the building with paint bombs and eggs. "It was like the station was under siege," one officer told the Chronicle.
At Four Barrel, a handiman fixing the shop's door was struck with a crowbar, but he was able to keep protesters from shattering the windows. Vinny Eng, Manager of Bar Tartine, also told SFist that service continued throughout the protests, despite one broken window in a side section of the dining room. At Farina, protesters sprayed Anarchy symbols and "Yuppies Out" on the restaurant's window while diners remained inside.
At Locanda, near 16th Street, one protester unsuccessfully attempted to smash the front window with the restaurant's valet stand. According to Locanda's manager, the restaurant was still serving food around midnight. One employee, however, later left work only to find that the vandals had smashed out her car's windshield.
Likewise, other vehicles were targeted on the march from 18th to Duboce: witnesses spotted smashed-out windows on everything from an Aston Marton to a 1990's Toyota Minivan. In the ensuing chaos, a police cruiser reportedly t-boned another vehicle in the intersection of Valencia and Duboce, sending the driver to the hospital. Other businesses on the corridor like Limon and Puerto Allegre were unaffected in yesterday's demonstration.
Although Occupy San Francisco claimed last night's action was not an official part of their movement, several of the affected business owners are confused by the demonstrators' motives. "They're coming through the Mission, where there aren't any corporations, just a lot of small businesses, which is what they're all about," Locanda manager Adam Koskoff told the Chronicle. Or as one perplexed real estate broker put it, "Occupy is saying it's not them, but we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Occupy, now would we?"