City officials tour 'Occupy San Francisco' movement

October 20, 2011 7:43:27 PM PDT
There was a bit of tension as San Francisco city officials toured Justin Herman Plaza where the 'Occupy San Francisco' movement continues.

The camp was starting to look more like a tourist attraction than ground zero for a protest. A mobile photo booth, called the 'Photoboof,' was established at the campsite for occupiers who wanted to have their photograph taken.

The interagency safety team appeared at the encampment for the first time. There were observers from the health department and even animal control.

At first, protesters were suspicious by the presence of city officials.

"You do not stand for the basic human rights of the people," said one protester.

Tensions eased when the crowd realized city officials weren't around to evict them.

Fire inspector Mary Ste and other members of the team explained city officials were there to help the occupiers comply with health and safety codes.

Those in the impromptu meetings told the team they wanted a list of the regulations.

"We're just constantly being forced to comply with different standards and different rules that aren't totally explained to us," protester Alexander Wink said.

The team toured the growing camp while being escorted by police officers. At the same time, volunteer nurses set up a tent at the edge of the encampment. The nurses won't distribute medication but will administer first aid and refer seriously-ill patients to city clinics and hospitals.

"I'm told there's somebody staying here who has leukemia," said registered nurse Erin Carrera. "There's some people with upper respiratory infections. We're here to support that anyway we can."

There appears to be more tarps and small tents being put up every day. The protesters are technically violating state park ordinances that prohibit erecting structures and camping out. Mayor Ed Lee hopes that by continuing dialogue with the demonstrators, the demonstrators will remove the tents voluntarily.

"Should there be inappropriate resistance, then I think the authority of the city has to be exercised to protect other people's rights," Lee said.

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