The camps are gone but the protesters remain on Market Street in San Francisco’s Financial District, after police confronted the group early Thursday.
The protesters associated with “Occupy SF” had set up a minitent city in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. They are occupying the area in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street as part of a movement to protest the disparity between the rich and poor.
But police forced the protesters to take down their camp, saying that while they have a right to demonstrate they cannot block sidewalks with items such as tents, crates and other objects.
At one point there were upwards of 70 cops waiting around the corner from the camp on Main Street.
There was one arrest. An assault on an officer, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
Some of the protesters were loudly debating whether they should take down the camp or stay and get arrested.
Supervisor John Avalos attempted to reason with police, saying that arrests would result in a larger contingent of campers later.
Around 12:30 a.m., police were clearing sidewalks. But protesters remained Thursday morning.
The growing group, which conducted a march Wednesday with hundreds clogging the sidewalks and streets of The City, has been making decisions by consensus. But they didn’t appear to find accord on what to do when the police warnings came.
“We agreed to take down the tents, but now I don’t know if the consensus is staying or going,” said Allie List, one of the organizers. “It seems that is no longer the consensus.”
A statement released by Occupy SF told a different story, accusing police of kidnapping the arrested protestor and of stealing their belongings:
"...the police, wearing helmets and carrying batons, formed a perimeter around our goods and prevented us from saving anything while they supervised Public Works employees as they stole everything. Occupy SF and Occupy Oakland surrounded the police cars and Public Works trucks to prevent them from leaving. There, we sang This Land is Our Land and We Will Not Be Moved. The police stole food, water, shelter, and other necessities of life from the 99% at Occupy SF. They kidnapped one of our friends. Officer Pascua (#4014) said to multiple occupiers that '[He] I can't wait to get the chance to bust your face in.' Another officer struck a woman last night. Let's hold him accountable. We saw multiples officers with tears rolling down their cheeks. We could tell that they wanted to join us."
The group began as a gathering of roughly 10 people camping outisde the Bank of America building on California Street on Sept. 17, the same day the flagship encampment was set up in Zuccotti Park, two blocks north of Wall Street in New York.