It was looking like a clash with police and protesters was in the making. Occupy activists pitched tents and spent the night in Justin Herman Plaza, which is illegal. They said they were enjoying the energy that comes from the movement's first anniversary celebration yesterday and wanted to channel it to an occupation of the plaza.
"The mission is to keep the Occupy movement going strong for the fall. We had a huge resurgence today all over the country from Zuccotti Park to here. A great day of action and people are here to bring the camp back up," said Occupy protestor Zaigham Kabir.
Police told the protesters they had to move out of Justin Herman Plaza by 6 a.m. or they would take the tents down for them, but instead of packing, the protesters sat and some of them sang. Just as police put on their riot gear, at 6 a.m. the protesters took the tents down.
"It seemed that the members of the Occupy group wanted to cooperate and we appreciate them cooperating," said SF Police Capt. Mark Osuna.
Vendors who are licensed to sell their goods at the plaza are furious to see that the protesters are back. Stephen Phillips said sales of his photographs were down two-thirds when they occupied the plaza last year.
"When it is noisy, people run through here. They want to get in and out of here as quickly as possible. So we certainly can't sell anything in those circumstances," said Phillips.
But a handful of protesters remained with a team of officers assigned to watch them. They say they aren't going away.
"We would like to keep the park as part of a nationwide reoccupation," said Occupy protestor Nick Shaw.
The protesters are allowed to be at the plaza until 10 p.m.