By Luke Thomas
December 8, 2011
Several hundred peaceful OccupySF protesters returned to Justin Herman Plaza yesterday evening to reclaim the space they had been evicted from in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Police moved in and ordered the protesters to leave the space, stating the plaza was closed for renovations. Most of the protesters complied with the SFPD order but a defiant group of 30 protesters remained following an SFPD clearing operation that resulted in at least one arrest. One protester, Chris Jones, was injured during the forcible removal action. He was treated at the scene by SFFD paramedics and taken to hospital.
A nervy standoff ensued with police surrounding the smaller group of protesters for three hours while the larger group of protesters surrounded the SFPD and held a General Assembly meeting.
“To the SFPD, you are surrounded. Put down your weapons. You are under arrest,” bellowed one protester over a public address system. Titters were heard across the plaza with several SFPD officers cracking smiles at the playfulness of the gesture.
The SFPD were outnumbered by at least 5-1.
The standoff ended when the group of corralled protesters agreed to be cited with a “certificate of release” on condition the protesters would not remain in the plaza or attempt to setup tents.
By 10 pm, most of the baton-wielding police clad in riot gear departed without incident while several motorcycle SFPD officers remained on the periphery of the plaza to ensure the protesters kept to the agreement of not setting up tents.
One protester attempted to defy the police order and erected a tent, but police quickly dismantled it.
While the plaza remains clear today, the Occupy protesters vowed to return.