Rebranded Occupy will take new message to SF streets 

Occupy SF, now known as Occupy Wall Street West, plans to conduct more mass demonstrations. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Occupy SF, now known as Occupy Wall Street West, plans to conduct more mass demonstrations.

The Occupy SF movement could come back with a bang Friday when more than 50 supporting groups and possibly thousands of protesters have plans to wreak havoc on banks in the Financial District. The protest is being billed by organizers as the largest San Francisco will have seen since demonstrations against the Iraq War in 2003.

Rebranded as Occupy Wall Street West, members of the movement appear to have a clearer set of demands and little interest in re-establishing a tent city. They now seem more focused on mass demonstrations against financial institutions and home foreclosures, which organizers plan to physically block when sheriff’s deputies attempt to remove residents from bank-seized homes.

“This is a lot more organized,” said Stardust, a member of Occupy’s communications team. “This is the Occupy movement extending beyond the metropolitan camps and reaching into all sectors — the neighborhoods, the schools, the labor organizations and the housing organizations.”

While the first iteration of Occupy SF centered on the physical occupation of the sidewalk outside the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street and Justin Herman Plaza on The Embarcadero, the movement’s second wave appears to be getting its thrust from established labor and housing groups wanting to assert their position on issues.

“We feel we are part of Occupy now,” said Tim Paulson, executive director of the San Francisco Labor Council. “It’s our members getting thrown out of homes; it’s our members losing jobs.”

Paulson said Labor Council staff members have been assigned to help organize demonstrations.

“It has moved to the protest stage,” Paulson said. “We’re going to be out on the streets.”

An Occupy news advisory Tuesday said protesters plan to mount a large vampire squid today near the Bank of America building on California Street as a metaphor for predatory lending practices by banks.

“I think it’s going to be huge,” said Sara Shortt, director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. “I think the real goal is to stop business as usual for the big banks in the Financial District.”

While San Francisco police conducted traffic control for dozens of street protests Occupy SF held in the fall, the department’s patience wore thin in December when warnings to clear the downtown camps were ignored. Police spokesman Sgt. Daryl Fong said on Tuesday that police support the expression of First Amendment rights, but what to do about unpermitted demonstrations such as the one planned for Friday is determined on a
case-by-case basis.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Planned Friday demonstrations

Wells Fargo Headquarters: California and Montgomery streets
Denouncing Bank of America: Justin Herman Plaza
Health care and jobs demonstration: Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard
Picket against Grand Hyatt: Union Square
“Eviction” of Fortress Investment offices by Parkmerced tenants
Demonstration against ruling on corporate personhood: 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Liberate the Commons: Outside Civic Center BART station
Protest against immigration policy: ICE field office, Sansome Street

Note: This is a partial list of locations
Source: Occupy Wall Street West

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