On Friday, Dec 9 th, I tried to take food to the site at 101 Market St. I'd planned on meeting a friend for lunch and then had a meeting that mid afternoon, and it would have been difficult to keep food hot and safe for that long. So I brought drained cooked ramen (24 pkts.t), 3 lbs of cooked vegetables and about 4 gallons of the flavoured soup, along with a camp stove, thinking I would just heat the food on the spot.
Firstly, there were SFPolice "No Parking" signs all around the area for blocks. So I thought I would just stop my car for a minute and offload onto the sidewalk with the help of some the Occupiers. Within less than a minute, two cops were on top of us, shouting at me, "You can't park here, you can't stop here, leave right now." in decidedly impolite tones. Luckily we'd managed to get most of the food out, and I just set whatever I had on the sidewalk and drove off.
When I returned to the site, it quickly became clear that there was no way to unobtrusively heat up the food there without risking getting it all confiscated: The cops had barricaded the 30" wide section of the sidewalk behind the pillars of the Federal Reserve, squeezing about 60-70 of the Occupiers onto a 10 foot wide stretch of the sidewalk between utility closets, hydrants etc. About 30 fully armed cops (OK, no kalashnikovs or other sub-machine guns, but all with sidearms, batons, the usual stuff to protect the citizenry from a Soviet invasion.
I walked around for a few blocks to scout a location where I could heat up the food, but there seemed to be cops everywhere I turned - mostly moto-cops riding on the sidewalk. I tried to stop again at 101 market to pick up the food and cooking stuff, and this time within 15 seconds there were two motocops on me, again the same, "gentle and polite" yelling. In consultation with the others I decided to bring the food the next day.
On the first of those parking trips "Big Mike" had accompanied me in the car, and I was just being my usual chatty self, asking him how it was going etc. He responded in monosyllables, and at my prompting explained that he was just really tired, hadn't slept in days, the cops would throw them all into prison at between 2 and 3AM, then release them late the next day etc. After how thwarted and anxious (well, not anxious, nervous and frustrated) I'd become after just a few minutes of interaction with the cops, it was hard for me to imagine how the Occupiers had been surviving for months under this continual low-grade harrassment e.g., midnight barricade construction police exercises through the middle of the camp, nightly arrests, and some them were still trying to engage the cops in polite conversation!
The next day, Saturday, I heated the food up at home and drove the hour to the site. While driving there, I noticed limos and SUVs double parked on King's/Embarcadero near ATT Pork Park (referring to funds used for its construction), and also on Mission St, within two blocks of the OccupySF site. As soon as I pulled up and got out of my car at the site, there was already a Police car in the adjacent lane, blocking traffic, yelling at me to get out of there. So again, I drove off, walked back for help from about 4 people to bring the food over and then we hung around a bit while people helped themselves, folding paper plates to make bowls for the soup.
Here are some pic.s: