“Occupy San Francisco” protesters took over a vacant building owned by the city’s archdiocese Sunday afternoon, as part of their plan to use the facility as a shelter and service center for homeless people.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, about 100 protesters entered a two story building after an April Fool Day march designed to “demonstrate poor people’s right to exist in public space.” After opening the building, which is believed to be a former music building of Sacred Heart Cathedral High School, about 100 activists remained in the location.
The protesters renamed the building the “San Francisco Commune” and announced the takeover as its “grand opening.” They indicated that they were cognizant of who owned their new home, providing more incentive for their mission.
“There is no reason why any building should be vacant when people have no housing,” protester Emma Gerould told The Chronicle. “We ask that the archdiocese do the right thing and allow these services in these buildings.”
Archdiocesan spokesman George Wesolek told The Chronicle that church officials decided to ask police not to take any action on the protesters. Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak said they would still discuss what to do next with the building’s owners.
The building takeover is considered to be “Occupy San Francisco” first major move since police cleared out their encampment on the city’s waterfont Embarcadero in December.