SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Authorities took more than three dozen protesters into custody and cleared out an encampment outside the San Francisco offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement early Monday morning.
San Francisco police moved in with handcuffs and garbage collectors shortly after midnight. A total of 39 people were arrested.
For a week, the "Occupy ICE" demonstrators had been blocking Washington Street between Battery and Sansome. Police said they were facilitating peaceful protest.
"Frequent admonishments had been given to the participants in this encampment over the last week," police spokesperson Grace Gatpandan said.
Gatpandan told KPIX 5 that traffic in the area was light because of the July 4th holiday last week, and that it was time to clear the road.
"The closure of this block has also prevented the passage of traffic and emergency vehicles through this corridor," Gatpandan said.
Several protesters said they were injured during the police raid.
"They were related to excessive force during arrest," protester Zoe Samudzi told KPIX 5 by phone, saying they are not sure what is next.
The protesters camped out in front of the ICE offices to speak out against the separation of families at the border and what they call "excessively long" detentions criminalizing immigration. Protesters are calling for the abolishment of the agency.
"Whether or not our encampment that stood up for a week was going to do that on its own, is obviously an overly ambitious and kind of an unrealistic thing to believe," Samudzi said. "But we were halting a lot of the state's ability to process and deport people by our presence. And that, for us, is a victory."
Immigration officials said in a written statement, "ICE, in conjunction with our other federal counterparts, is continuing to monitor the situation and will make necessary modifications to ensure operations resume appropriately."
All 39 people arrested were charged with lodging in public, while 10 were also charged with resisting arrest. Thirty-one of the protesters are from the Bay Area.
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