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may day sf: san francisco commune resurrected
As part of Bay Area May Day actions, Occupy San Francisco resurrected the San Francisco Commune. The SF Commune began exactly a month ago today, on April 1. The following day the SFPD shut down the Commune at the behest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the legal owner of the vacant building.
San Francisco, May 1-At mid afternoon today the intersection of Market and Van Ness in San Francisco had been taken over by Occupy SF. The adjacent Bank of America was shut down.
Earlier Occupy SF had reported that it would bring back the SF Commune, a social center and home for the poor and homeless it had started at 888 Turk Street on April 1. The owner of the then vacant building is the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
OSF claimed the building in the Western Addition had been empty for five years. It invited the Archdiocese to join them in bringing life back to the building to serve the needs of the city’s oppressed.
Instead, on April 2, the Archdiocese sent in the SFPD to raid the Commune and arrest its residents.
Yesterday Occupy SF folks on KPFA announced that they had in fact restarted the Commune on Easter, April 8, one week after the original occupation. They also announced that on May Day they would march to the site.
On the March
There was a heavy police presence at Market and Van Ness today, rivaling in numbers those occupying the intersection. SFPD vehicles included numerous vans, cars, and motorcycles. At least one MUNI bus had been converted into a bust bus, eagerly awaiting passengers. Foot cops abounded as well.
All at once the march took off up Van Ness towards the Civic Center. Soon several hundred people had stretched out on both sides of the street over two blocks.
Lines of police on foot moved up the two sides of the street alongside the marchers. Numerous SFPD vehicles lurked behind the march.
As we passed City Hall, I heard from someone on its steps, “Why don’t they beat them off the streets?”
Up the hill past Mickey Dees we went, then the march swung left onto Turk. We weren’t going to…it couldn’t be…But very soon it became obvious—we were headed straight back to 888 Turk Street!
When we arrived, atop the roof a handful of mostly black clad figures held a large banner reading “From the Ashes We Have Risen.” As the crowd occupied Turk in front of the building, police threw up concentrated lines in front of 888 as well as at the Parkview Terrace apartment across Turk. Their menacing vehicles still lurked behind the crowd.
But soon the police force made a tactical retreat, if only to a block away. Soon occupiers came out of the building and started peeling back part of the chain link fence in front of it. They opened the fence’s gate and called out, “Out of the streets and into our home!”
I took them up on their offer and was checking out the first floor when I heard sirens. I peeked back out and saw four police vans speeding up Turk towards us. But they kept going and turned left to park on Gough.
I stepped back out onto Turk and heard someone laugh. Then I heard him say, “Did you see that taxi, it had an Occupy sign and the driver was leaning on his horn.”
As this sunny windswept day went on, everyone seemed to relax and enjoy its peace and beauty, for now.
As for the cops, they were lounging around, at ease, awaiting their kind of marching orders from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
As it turned out, that didn’t take long. While listening to the KPFA 6 o’clock news as I’m working on this story, I just heard a report that riot police are storming the Commune, and have fired a projectile at one occupier.