Homeless Advocates Occupy Castro Storefront, Dozens Of SF Police Respond

Last night my pal Matt Foreman and I were walking to dinner when we came across quite the scene on Castro Street as dozens of homelessness activists occupied a vacant storefront. A massive and helmeted SFPD riot contingent responded and gathered in several different huddles before rushing the storefront from all directions, with one squad blazing up from a side street on bikes. I’d estimate that somewhere around 75 officers responded, prompting one young man with a megaphone to taunt them: “Is THIS what you what think is a proper use of your parking meter money?”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

About 50 protesters gathered at Dolores Park at 5 p.m. and listened to music for an hour before marching down 18th Street, chanting “Homes not jails.” Shortly after 6 p.m., protesters wearing black masks broke into an empty building at 535 Castro St. and hung a sign reading, “Gentrification Equals Assimilation.” About half of the crowd stayed outside the two-story building while about as many police officers gathered across the street. Police stormed the building at about 6:50 p.m. Nearly an hour later, they arrested 20 people inside the building and marched them into a waiting police van. One woman sprained her ankle while trying to run from police as they stormed the building. Earlier, housing activist Tommy Avicolli Mecca, who was carrying a sign that read, “Stop the war on the poor,” said the city needs to do more to make use of its vacant spaces. “In San Francisco we have anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 homeless people, yet we have all these empty buildings,” he said. “Do the math. Why are we not using them? We’re the city that thinks outside the box.”

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