Occupy SF Prepares for Police Raid Tonight

Categories: Occupy Bay Area
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Kate Conger
Is San Francisco next?
Update (5:45 p.m.): Department of Health officials led reporters through the encampment this evening as they inspected the area for violations. SF Weekly's Lauren Smiley says that Barbara Garcia, the director of the city's Health  Department, claims the toilets are much cleaner, yet the camp still has some problems. For starters, there are still too many tents on the plaza, and animals are not allowed. Officials would not comment on whether these violations were enough to justify a police raid.

Original story (4:55 p.m.): Protesters are now gathering at Justin Herman Plaza to discuss the possibility of a police raid on the encampment tonight. According to the Occupy SF website, police are expected to storm the camp tonight and dismantle the compound that the city has declared a public health hazard.

"Occupy SF, facing the threat of an imminent San Francisco Police raid, calls for community to show support," the group says on its website.

SF Weekly contacted police, who said they've not heard of any orders from the Mayor's Office for a late-night raid. However, Lee has been issuing final warnings that the tents in front of the Federal Reserve must come down today.

We contacted Christine Falvey, Lee's spokeswoman, who told us that the mayor met with protesters yesterday, trying to figure out what their long-term plan is.

"While he believes overnight camping in a small public space is not sustainable because of the health and safety problems it causes, he absolutely supports the spirit of the movement and the group's First Amendment right to assemble and protest," she said. He has been working hard to come to some understanding with the group about how they can get their message across without overnight camping and all of the public health and public safety issues that arise from that."

Falvey noted that the city established guidelines that "go above and beyond" what city code allows. "The group has been unable to meet the guidelines in any sustained manner.  At yesterday's meeting Mayor Lee asked for immediate compliance with all of the guidelines that were agreed to. That is where we are at."

Still no answer from her about whether or not the mayor will order a raid tonight. Check back for updates.

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