With an amalgam of Occupation demonstrations scheduled and already in action for today, January 20th, 2012, here are some observations from downtown San Francisco.
1. Upon exiting Embarcadero Station, several police officers (6-8), some of whom were visibly wearing kevlar (bullet-proof) vests stood conversing with one another. Two of the men were wearing black jackets that read "Department of Homeland Security" on the back. As I stood there and watched them for a moment, they seemed to be unclear about their duties. The men in DHS jackets were trying to give them instructions, but couldn't seem to make up their minds.That is, they would tell one or two officers to go down the stairs toward the BART trains, but then call them back. Not frantic, but confused.
2. Upon reaching the street level, in front of the Federal Reseve Building at 101 Market Street, there was no encampment in front of the building, but one block further west, there was a large group of protesters marching in the west-bound lane of traffic. It had a large (affiliated?) bus lurching along behind them. Behind the bus were two SFPD bike cops. The group looked to have at least 50 people,and seemed to be undetered by the morning rain.
3. At the Ferry Plaze (not Justin Herman)at the end of Market St., where the vendors usually set up, were three tents and a large group of people, both milling about and organizing for the day's events. In front of the plaza were rows of vans, meter maids cars, and a couple of cop cars parked. As I walked toward the gathering and past the City vehicles, I overheard one of the employees greet another who'd just come on duty, "It's been like this since 6 in the morning!"
A group of about 15 people was gathered around two individuals who were giving instructions for safety and action. They suggested forming groups, finding a buddy, and gave out the legal phone number they could call if they happen to get arrested. In the background, others were organizing signs and bull horns, while others still were already holding signs in the open walkways of the plaza.
4. For several weeks, Occupy SF was camped out in Justin Herman Plaza, and now deferentially refer to it as Bradley Manning Plaza in solidarity with the young American enlistee who released information to Wikileaks early last year. The OCCUPY SF camp at JHP/BMP was shut down a few weeks ago and has been blocked off by barricdes. The entry steps to the park are blocked with Park & Rec signs that read "Closed for Renovation" and the internal grass area is blocked off by metal barricades. Apparently, the "renovations" are to re-grow the small lawn area...so, of course, they had the SPRINKLERS running in the rain. Ahhhhh, City governance!