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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Occupy SF: 75 Arrested in Catholic Church Occupation

Posted By on Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 8:22 AM

click to enlarge Occupiers were either planning to sit in the chairs or throw them at cops ... one of the two - COURTESY OF SFPD
  • Courtesy of SFPD
  • Occupiers were either planning to sit in the chairs or throw them at cops ... one of the two

The San Francisco Archdiocese made it very clear that it is there to serve God, not the 99 percent. The religious leaders yesterday afternoon ordered police to start rounding up occupiers and arresting them a day after protesters descended on the church's vacant building on Turk Street, pledging to turn the site into a permanent space for the homeless.

Initially, S.F. Catholics had instructed police to hold off on messing with occupiers, which gave protesters plenty of time to start prepping for a fight; when police did raid the building, they found the gates had been heavily barricaded along with piles of bricks, chairs, and buckets of paint on the rooftop. "There was concern that these items were going to be used as weapons against police officers," said Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

When police entered the building, occupiers retreated into rooms, many of which had also been barricaded from the inside. Others locked themselves on the second floor, and one person jumped from the roof and was arrested by police upon his landing.

On Sunday, occupiers had stormed the building, which the church said was still being used as a music facility for the nearby Sacred Heart Cathedral High School. Occupiers began making themselves at home, handing out flyers, announcing the "grand opening" of

the building as the "San Francisco Commune," while activists organized the space for homeless folks in need of shelter.

When police raided the site on Monday afternoon, they did find mattresses, bedrolls, a makeshift medical room, and a kitchen -- all signs that occupiers had longterm plans for the two-story building. But there were also signs of miscreants in the group. Police found disturbing graffiti inside the building, including the phrases "Burn it down,"  "New Social Order," and "Kill Cops." Officers also found white supremacy literature inside one of the rooms, Adraychak said.

By 6 p.m., police had mostly cleared the area, and some 75 protesters were arrested on suspicion of trespassing. Today the Archdiocese is

out there assessing just how much money this 24-hour occupation will

cost them -- and churchgoers.

But let's not jump to any conclusions about Catholics. In fact, there is an "Occupy Catholics" movement forming out there, which is working to seek justice for the 99 percent -- in God's eyes, of course.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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