Police Chief Greg Suhr told ABC7 that police moved in because of a fire and assault in the camp and that the public safety concerns warranted fencing off the camp to contain what could become spiraling violence.
But just as quickly as the police arrived, they retreated. Police Chief Greg Suhr says he ordered the police to pull back because some of the Occupy protesters appeared agitated and he was concerned for their safety.
Thursday evening, protesters spilled onto Market Street in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, dancing, carrying barricades brought by police, and holding up traffic.
Police stepped in to clear the barricades, and then stood by as the protesters held their general assembly in the middle of Market Street before retreating back to Justin Herman Plaza.
Thursday's police action comes as a rift emerges within the Occupy camp. Protesters debated for seven hours Wednesday night at their General Assembly on whether or not the group should move their camp to a vacant high school campus in the Mission District. Some protesters say a majority of the group wants to move, but others disagree.
Protesters say without unanimous consent, the city will not turn over the keys to the school.
"We would love to go there and keep the movement going on, even to take the issue of being raided out of the way so we can concentrate on getting a message out to the 1 percent," protester Stanley Martin said.
Mayor Ed Lee says, while the vote to move does not need to be unanimous, he doesn't think there should be two camps.
A spokesperson for the mayor's office denied that the city was going to enforce a deadline on the protesters to move.
Two protesters were arrested Thursday.