WIth rumors of an epic showdown between Occupiers and SFPD circulating all day, the mood was undeniably tense at Justin Herman Plaza this evening.
At least a hundred people dedicated themselves to be arrested by SFPD, should they invade the camp, in an effort to protect the vital services that have been established over the weeks. The medical tent found itself insulated by two waves of linked protesters while lines of linked Occupiers ran anti-dispersal drills nearby.
While the police never showed, the occasional fits of collective calm that would come over the camp rapidly morphed the relatively festive stratosphere into an anxious, eery gloom. Resigned to being arrested, dedicated protesters would exhibit a zen-like calm between being educated in their rights and yelling “WE LOVE YOU” to any police officers who could possibly hear them. Medical volunteers would tend to the front-lines, making sure everyone was prepared for the inevitable barrage of tear gas and beatings. The National Lawyers Guild ensured everybody, regardless if they planned on getting arrested, had a lawyer's number Sharpied to their arms.
Then the brass band would kick it up again, and everyone seemed to forget, even if only temporarily, that six buses were filling up with SFPD's goons a little over a mile away.
(Sidenote: I'm not completely sure what this sign means, but I think it is subliminal messaging telling me to go eat an entire bag of chocolate-covered pretzels from Whole Foods.)
Anyway, enough with serious matters…
When it comes to media, this bum has the game figured out: he runs around the camp holding up an iPad that streams video and pushes around a shopping cart filled with batteries connected to WiFi equipment. I think I saw a couple of empty beer cans in there. But I digress.
If you've been watching the livestream of The Occupation, this intrepid lunatic and his pimped-out Safeway cart is to thank.
Elsewhere, this reporter from Telemundo had to stand a fucking box to report the news.
As it became evident that SFPD wasn't going to bloody up the unemployed, uninsured, and homeless, the scene began to focus on the politicians (who, to their credit, seemed to do a bang-up job of putting pressure on Mayor Ed Lee to not use Oakland-style Gestapo tactics to clean out the porta potties/acting as a human shield). So Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, John Avalos, and Eric Mar posed for every journalist, photographer, blogger, and mediocre camera phone that wanted to documentent the spectacle.
And while the media was busy taking snaps of political quartet, they missed the real story: John Avalos smearing a partially-eaten Subway sandwich all over the back of Eric Mar.
(There's a better joke in there involving betrayal, Julius Caesar, and a controversial dry cleaning bill, but I'm too exhausted to think of it right now.)
Because city politics is basically a used car salesman's version of the high school cafeteria, the progressive clique didn't seem particularly keen on letting Senator Leland Yee and his hipster henchmen hang out with them (not that it slowed him down).
Speaking of politics, the lines to squeeze out a shit were hella gnarly.
Finally, I took a photo of this Angry Bird, should she be disappeared by the cops.