Occupied Hayes Valley site cleared by police, seven held

A sign outside Gezi Gardens

"#GeziGardens, occupied permaculture farm in SF is being raided by 100's of riot cops right now!" read the Gezi Gardens Twitter at about 2am last night.

The site, formerly known as Hayes Valley Farm, has been occupied since June 1 by a group calling themselves "Free the Land" or "Liberate the Land" after Hayes Valley Farm moved out quietly on May 31, as part of a conditional use deal with the city that allowed the farm to operate until the city-owned site is developed into condos (including 40 units for low-income residents).  

The purpose of the occupation, one of the occupiers told me, was to bring attention to the loss of green space in the city, to oppose development of more high-end condos (including those on the site) in the face of soaring evictions and homelessness, and to stand in solidarity with protesters in Turkey who were occupying Gezi Square to prevent its slated demolition and redevelopment into a mall.

(Gezi itself was stormed yesterday by riot police

According to SFGate, "San Francisco police arrested seven people early Thursday as officers cleared a camp of activists protesting a planned housing development" at about 1:30am, ousting 55 occupiers. Seven were held, including two treesitters. SFPD spokesman Sgt Dennis Toomer said the city was ready to begin development. 

Video posted to the Liberate the Land Facebook page shows a treesitter falling from his perch as police officers attempt to dismantle it, as well ass this picture of a police cherry picker approaching the perch:  


Also on the page is a picture of a man called Mark with a swollen black eye, and the caption, "Mark's eye after being punched by the SFPD while in the cage after arrest and being brought down from tree sit."

Liberate the Land issued this message this morning:

Folks are gathering at Patricia's Green on Octavia Street between Hayes Street and Fell Street now after a night time lightning raid by SFPD on #GeziGardens, the former site of Hayes Valley Farm on Oak and Laguna Streets, with guns drawn. Folks who just went through the raid and supporters need food, a kitchen, sleeping bags, banner making materials, paint, etc. Come gather with us today, meet up for a discussion at 6pm, and definitely plan to come here Friday at 6pm for a reconvergence. Let it build.





Why did the police wait so long.
Not only are they trespassing, they are building things in trees?

Utterly embarrassing for the city of SF that a bunch of hippies from Oakland co-opted the name of a real protest of real people. Protesting the development of a temporary farm in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities in America is totally the same as protesting a fascist government in another country

Posted by NOT_Eric_Brooks on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 9:08 am

Amazing that SFBG goes on about AirBnB's illegality and how they should be slapped down, while at the same time condoning and supporting the illegal taking of another's property.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 9:24 am

Happily, Mark needs only one eye to look completely insane.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 12:19 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

Blah blah yuppies, please give a shit once in awhile

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

stereotyping people using prejudicial terms like "yuppie"?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 10:46 am

I'm totally sympathetic to the urban farming movement inspired by South Central Farm, but this seems kind of quixotic because the apparatus of force that the City of San Francisco can marshal is inevitably going t . o overwhelm these occupiers.

However, there may be a political point to be made. South Central Farm was evicted after inspired and spearheaded the urban farm movement with its twelve years of success.

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

I sat next to a woman who was talking to a man named Steve Danforth. He held a white hard hat with his name labeled on it. I overheard the two talking about the Hayes Farm and he mentioned that there are certain species of birds that have already nested in the trees there. He went on to say that there are on-site biologists and ornithologists to properly manage the garden's natural life, with archiologists who are also there to overlook the process in digging for the proposed garage beneath the condos (he was explaining that the site used to be an old CalTrain stop, so they're unsure if there will be any significant findings but they're there just in case). Within their conversation, it was also discussed that the large majority of trees in that space are Eucalyptus trees, which, in addition are not even indigenous to San Francisco, are highly susceptable to collapse due to their shallow root system and also a burn hazard due to their flakey bark. It was upsetting to find out that the only reason they're expediting this removal process is entirely because of the squatters/protesters and the endangerment they are to the neighbourhood and to themselves if in they decide to cause more of a disturbance.
Oh, and part of the builder's contract with the city requires the planting of one replacement tree for every one removed. These "hippies" aren't even real hippies if they're acting like retarded monkeys over such a respectful deal between the city and the builders.

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