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Tension remains high at Occupy SF camp

December 2, 2011 7:12:22 PM PST
Tension is high this morning at the Occupy San Francisco encampment. Police and protesters engaged in a shoving and screaming match last night in the wake of the city's latest deadline for campers to leave.

Mike Hanley and his wife own a small business near the camp called Hand Cut Coins.

"If you ask 99 percent of the business owners down here, the 99 percent, our businesses have been several impacted because these people harass folks. It is not a good atmosphere to bring your family down to," said Hanley.

While many, if not most of the occupiers are open to moving to the site offered by the city over at Mission and 15th streets, enough occupiers oppose the move so there's no consensus. A spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee's office said a consensus is what has to occur before the city opens up that other location and she says time is short.

Occupy protestors see it differently.

"The movement will keep moving and they will keep moving and we will occupy what we choose to Occupy, not what we are told we can't," said protester Jai Veda.

"What I see happening is a network of autonomous occupations, smaller, more doable in many ways -- in the schools, in the communities of San Francisco," said protester Diamond Dave.

Some small business owners are outraged by how long the encampment has been allowed to stay, and they want something done about it now.

"We've had incidents where the folks come through," said street artist Mike Hanley. "They've stolen jewelry, they've harassed customers."

Hanley says out of the 13 years he's sold jewelry at Justin Herman Plaza, "this is the worst last three months that we've ever had down here."

The city has offered the protesters an alternative location in the Mission District, but that site won't be made available until the Occupiers themselves agree to move.

Over at Hand Cut Coins, Mike Hanley says the answer is clear cut.

"You are owed the opportunity to get off of your butt and do something for yourself and I don't see them doing that," said Hanley.

Mayor Ed Lee's office said there are no talks scheduled with Occupy SF today. The mayor's office said time is short, but they are not saying how short.


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