Occupy Wall Street West Trying Hard to Occupy the Financial District, 19 Arrested
(Update) 2:27 p.m. Sgt. Michael Andraychak tells us that as of 12:30 p.m., a total of 19 protesters were arrested after refusing to move away from the Wells Fargo exits. Police are still in the Financial District, but Andraychak says the demonstration seems to have calmed down for now. "It ebbs and flows," he said. SF Weekly's Browner tells us that protesters have gathered outside of the Bank of America on Montgomery, closing off the street off. Police are standing nearby in riot gear.
(Update) 1:16 p.m. Browner now tells us a group of peaceful protesters are moving to City Hall, singing bluegrass tunes of all things. Browner says she's seen a handful of protesters arrested, and confirmed with Occupy that at least seven demonstrators have been hauled to jail. However, other media outlets are reporting that number is now at 19. Police are no longer lingering at California and Kearney, but no word on where they are now.
Update: (12:23 p.m.): A police source tells SF Weekly that occupy protesters on Market Street are posing as undercover cops, arresting their fellow protesters. "Doing it now on Market Street," our source wrote to us at noon. "Haven't seen that before!" Not sure why they might be doing this, but the source speculates it's to rile the movement.
Update: (11:29 a.m.) Cops have cleared California Street and are holding pedestrians on the sidewalk.The party bus that some Occupiers' had used is indeed leaving, headed down Montgomery toward Market. People are marching after it, including the brass band that's been there all day.
Update: (11:20 a.m.) Cops in riot gear are now marching on California Street, which is shut down from Kearny to Sansome. Browner and Conger both report arrests and some violent flare ups: One protester struck with a baton; another protester's percussion instruments were seized as potential weapons. Some cable cars are able to pass through the intersection.
Update: (11:00 a.m.) Cops in riot gear hold the line on Sacramento Street. There appear to be about 200 protesters in total. Many are chanting "Shame on you!" and "Let him go!" at cops over arrests.
Original story (7:35 a.m.): Perhaps it's the rain, or maybe it's just too early in the morning, but it appears that Occupy's latest attempt to disrupt the city's financial institutions is off to a slow start.
The group had advertised this to be the biggest street demonstration since the 2003 anti-war protests; however, SF Weekly writer Kate Conger is in downtown San Francisco and tells us it's not much more than several small groups spread throughout the Financial District.
A small cluster of protesters are gathered at the side entrance to Wells Fargo. The group is chanting and using some kind of tubes to connect their arms and block the bank's doors.
A wet and probably frustrated group of bank employees is standing in the rain, waiting to get inside the building.
Check back for updates.
Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF