39 'Occupy ICE' Protesters Arrested in San Francisco
By Sarah Ravani
A weeklong encampment of activists protesting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and President Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy came to an end early Monday, when nearly 40 people were arrested overnight in San Francisco.
The group, Occupy ICE SF, had set up camp outside ICE offices on Sansome Street as part of a national protest against the agency, which has come under fire after stepped-up enforcement and after thousands of migrant children were separated from their parents at the southern border.
Zoe Samudzi, a member of the local Occupy ICE chapter, was at home after participating in the protest throughout the week when she received a call from other demonstrators at the scene to come help with "jail support."
"Throughout the week, it seemed as though the police were increasingly looking to remove the encampment from the space," Samudzi said. "The attitude, the comments they were making, body language."
Just after 1 a.m. Monday, Occupy ICE SF tweeted: "The #occupyicesf camp is currently being raided."
Thirty-nine people were arrested at about 12:30 a.m. for lodging in public, and 10 of those people were also booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, said Officer Robert Rueca, a San Francisco police spokesman.
Sixteen of the people arrested are San Francisco residents, 15 hail from surrounding Bay Area cities and eight are from outside the Bay Area, Rueca said.
The police action stemmed from community complaints regarding public urination, cooking with open flames, excessive noise and disturbing the peace, Rueca said. Additionally, the closure of the block caused barriers for oncoming traffic and emergency vehicles.
Demonstrators arrived at ICE headquarters on July 2, when they pitched five tents, a small pavilion and a section of chain-link fence with barbed wire to limit access to the building.
Samudzi said the demeanor of the officers Monday morning was "scary."
"There's something really horrifying about that -- that they're willing to shut down and to raid and to dismantle a peaceful protest," Samudzi said.
(c)2018 the San Francisco Chronicle