Police Raid "Gezi Gardens" in Hayes Valley; Seven Tree-Sitters Arrested (Update)
Update 12:16 p.m.: Sgt. Dennis Toomer gives more details about this morning's raid and what happens next. Read update at the bottom.
Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner The eco-village pre-raid
Original Story 7:09 a.m.: The cops were busy last night. About an hour after responding to a double homicide in Sunnydale, San Francisco police raided the former site of the Hayes Valley Farm where tree-loving occupiers have staged a protest since early this month.
The cops arrived at about 1:30 a.m. to break-up the tree-sitting occupy protesters who have blocked the city from removing trees there to make way for new 182-unit housing complex. Seven people were arrested, and one person was injured after jumping from a tree, said Sgt. Dennis Toomer.
"The protester was hanging from a tree limb and let go of the limb landing on foam padding SFPD had in place under the tree in case of emergency," Toomer said.
Protesters entered the site on June 1, renaming the space "Gezi Gardens" after a park in Istanbul that has been the subject of recent protests. Protesters had built tree-sitting platforms on the site, planted gardens, organized workshops and activities and served healthy meals -- essentially building a village to show the city what it really means to live green.
Last week, the group successfully blocked tree-cutters from coming in and doing their job.
We'll update this post as we learn more about the morning raid.
Update from Sgt Dennis Toomer:
Since Friday, June 7th, we have been in constant contact with the protesters. We have spoken with them and handed out written notification that they were in violation of trespassing and disorderly conduct. We worked with the city's Homeless Outreach for shelter accommodations and Dept of Public Works (DPW) for personal belonging storage options. This morning, there were 44 people on the camp ground when we arrived. Thirty-nine of those people voluntarily left the area, with 5 persons remaining. Two of those people were on the grounds and voluntarily requested to be arrested. There were three people in the trees on platforms. With the help of the DPW, we were able to use cherry picker vehicles to remove the persons from the tree platforms. One of the persons in the tree decided to hang from a tree limb instead of climbing inside the cherry picker. We had foam padding on the ground underneath the trees as a safety precaution. The individual voluntarily let go of the tree limb, landing safely onto the foam padding. All persons taken from the tree platforms were medically evaluated. I'm still not sure if they were treated at hospitals or at the scene. No officers were injured in this incident. Two people were arrested outside of the camp ground for disorderly conduct. The total number of arrests is 7 persons. The land will remain secured and plans for development of 40 units of affordable housing will be underway soon.