Tents have returned to the Occupy San Diego protest at the Civic Center Plaza. During the night time General Assembly held Tuesday, Oct. 25, tents began to appear. By last count there were eight new tents erected, and was described as “a direct action” event by those who pitched the tents on the concrete in the shadow of City Hall. The tents appeared to be newly purchased and several had “99%” written or painted on their sides.
The new tents visibly added to the tension and the daily/ nightly drama at the Plaza, as tents had been banned by the San Diego Police earlier during the occupation. Tents had been banned at the Plaza on Thursday, October 13th, in a memo delivered to the protesters. At least half a dozen tents were taken down by police on two occasions on Friday the 14th, several demonstrators pepper-sprayed and two people arrested.
Since then, police had allowed one “symbolic” tent. Occupiers – who have now entered their 18th night at the Plaza – have slept each night in the Concourse but only in sleeping bags and other bedding. And on Monday, October 24th, the United Nurses Union erected a tarp-type structure as a cover for their nurses’ and first aid station.
Immediately after the tents went up, an “emergency” session of the General Assembly was held to hammer out some guidelines for the tents; people were asked to take them down at 6 am Wednesday; they were asked to move them away from the medical station – which they did.
Police officers did approach the GA about the tents, and later occupiers said that the police indicated that they would not move against them that evening. There was intense speculation when or even if the police would arrive in force to have the tents removed. Some guessed it would occur at 1 or 2 am on Wednesday, others said it would be more like at 8 am – which is what occurred last time police came in force to get rid of the tents.
Others dismissed the idea that police would force the protesters to remove them at all. Afterall, some said, they are a “right” needed for shelter and safety. Whereas, other occupiers and supporters viewed the new tents as an unnecessary escalation at the protest site, an upping of the tension on the same day that one hundred protesters filed into the City Council chambers to ask for a resolution in support of the Occupy San Diego action.
Whatever their fate, the new tents did provide their campers with some respite from the light rain that began falling.