There is an urgent call for supporters to come to the Civic Center Plaza tonight at 8 pm for a vigil in solidarity with Occupy San Diego and all those who were arrested during the police raids earlier today. And people are asked to bring their candles, warm clothing, and to participate in the vigil as long as they can.
Originally scheduled as a “sleepover” by trade unionists and nurses in support of the occupation, plans had to change with the new conditions that police were imposing on the Civic Center area – site of a three week encampment by demonstrators. Now, a vigil – perhaps all night – is being planned.
The San Diego Labor Council has announced that it will be there with as many members as possible. Lorena Gonzalez, head of the Labor Council, declared today from the steps of the Wells Fargo Bank building at 5th and B that she will be there, and said to the amazement of those she was addressing “if the police want to arrest someone, I’ll be the first in line!” Gonzalez vowed that the unions she helps represent are in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
An all-night vigil is what is being planned for the Plaza to show support for the 40 to 50 arrested from Occupy San Diego in the early morning raids San Diego Police conducted today. Police showed up in mass – with dozens of County Deputy Sheriffs – for a total of over one hundred law enforcement officers – and roughly hurried demonstrators at the Plaza out of their sleeping bags and out of a handful of tents. After several arrests and scuffles, occupiers lined up on Third Avenue in a face-off with baton-wielding police. Many were arrested within moments of that scene. Police report that they arrested 40 at the Plaza.
At the same early morning hour – 2:00 a.m. – police raided without notice a “solidarity station” at Children’s Park. Police said that 11 were taken into custody at the Park, located at First and Island. There was no warning given there.
At both sites, the personal property of everyone was confiscated, along with all the food and medical supplies donated by San Diegans over the last couple of weeks. City workers were seen dumping things they gathered up at the Plaza into trash containers. Organizers had estimated that there was over $4,000 worth of donated goods, food, equipment and supplies. Most if not all of these are presumed to have been taken by police.
Most of those arrested were charged with obstruction of a police officer, a misdemeanor, and are looking at a $5000 bail amount. Others were charged with camping in a park, or illegal lodging on public property. Many have arraignments scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, at the downtown criminal court house. All the women arrested were taken to Las Colinas out in Santee, and most of the men – if not all – were transported up to the jail in Vista.
Several people were reportedly beaten by police as they were arrested. A male sitting on a curb was tackled by several cops and roughed up. One woman in a tent was temporarily crushed by officers trampling over the canopy and screamed out. Another man, Brian Castro, was said to have been bloodied by cops when they took him into custody.
Although mad as hell, with many screaming at the police, the Occupy demonstrators remained non-violent. Some did sit down in the road but even though they were arrested, they stayed peaceful. Police reported that two resisted arrest.
Protesters vowed to the police who guarded the barricaded Plaza for much of the day that they would return. “We will be back!” they chanted at an impromptu protest at the edge of the Concourse.
Around 8:30 this morning, protesters and supporters who were not arrested gathered at the Wells Fargo Bank building at the corner of 5th and B to protest the early morning raids. There, a few people spoke and many made signs. The group, now numbering nearly one hundred proceeded to the Plaza, then walked over the the municipal jail where they formed a picket line for 10 minutes. Leaving the jail, the group paraded in front of the criminal courthouse.
One participant explained to the crowd outside the courthouse that the police chief was giving a press conference over at the police headquarters about the arrests. This caused most to then march off in the direction of the SDPD center.
For those who stayed near the Plaza, they eventually entered the same area that they had been thrown out from – only to find another controversy. There appeared to be large splats of blood on the pavement, which some said resulted from a demonstrator being beaten by police during the initial raid. Workers cleaning the Plaza may have poured some kind of chemical cleaner of the stains – to no avail.
As Occupy San Diego legal people scrambled to get all the names and birth dates of those arrested, other organizers promised to return in the evening with many more people. A local group, Activist San Diego, has even set up a bail fund for donations.
“They can’t arrest a movement!” was often heard during the day’s protests. And with tonight’s vigil being held, occupiers declared that they’d be back with many more.