Not to be outdone, local lefties in San Francisco have commenced their own "Occupy SF" movement. After a dramatic 800-man march, the .0000099%-ers set up camp outside the local Federal Reserve bank. After a couple of hours, the SFPD ordered them to take off. Vigorous "protest" commenced:
San Francisco police and Public Works crews dismantled a Financial District encampment early today that had been occupied by activists protesting economic inequality.
About 80 officers wearing riot helmets confronted some 200 campers and their supporters at about 12:45 a.m. at the Occupy SF camp in front of the Federal Reserve Bank's building at 101 Market St. near Main Street. The officers guarded city workers who removed tents, sleeping bags and other belongings.
One protester was arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer.
The camp was taken down hours after several hundred people marched through the Financial District in an Occupy SF-organized protest. The group formed in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has been staging protests in New York over the past month over what it calls corporate greed and the excessive concentration of wealth and power among 1 percent of the nation's population.
Here's a dramatic recounting of the events on Market Street:
At around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police handed a notice to Occupy SF protesters that although the city and Police Department "celebrate and protect" free speech and the right to assemble, their encampment violated several city laws. They included a ban on having an open flame on a street or sidewalk, creating a public nuisance, disorderly conduct in lodging and serving food without a permit.
Protesters began taking down tents and removing belongings, activists said today, but also posted the police notice online. More than 100 supporters subsequently arrived at the encampment, some of whom sat in a meditation circle.
At 12:45 a.m., Department of Public Works employees arrived in trucks and began removing campers' possessions as police stood guard.
"They took everything," said one protester, who asked to be identified only as Leslie M. "They said if we showed an effort that we were removing our stuff and taking down our tents, it would be OK."
About 50 protesters stood in front of one truck to try to prevent it from leaving, activists said. The trucks took an alternate route and drove away via Main Street.
Leslie said she had seen officers scuffle with some protesters and that two men had been led away in handcuffs. Police spokesman Lt. Troy Dangerfield, however, said that only one protester had been arrested, for allegedly assaulting an officer. He did not have the man's name.
Give these clowns credit for agit-prop and media savvy. They are "occupying" San Francisco, even though their numbers are so small you wouldn't know an occupation was underway unless they were standing right in front of you. The Tea Parties had greater numbers, and were a truly spontaneous uprising, but they were also polite, well behaved, and respectful (not to mention focused in their message). These guys are literally professional protesters. A couple weeks ago they were disrupting service on BART. They represent nobody, yet they know their confrontational behavior will draw cameras and headlines in a way that Tea Parties can only envy. Not fair, but that's the way of the world.
That doesn't mean the "Occupy" people will prevail. But, they are going to get louder, shriller, and smellier, and the media lens will become wider. The goal is chaos and destruction; it's to create an aura of instability that will frighten low-information types who just want to see bad news banished from their TV. Conservatives have to be prepared to fight these guys; not in the streets, but at the ballot box, at the dinner table, and in the media. Otherwise, they'll become the only "movement" in town.