A crowd of several hundred people gathered on San Francisco's waterfront and near an NFL "fan village" Wednesday evening to draw attention to the city's homeless population and what they say was an effort to move homeless people away from Super Bowl events.
Organizers had hoped to set up a sort of Occupy-style tent city steps from Super Bowl City, an area brimming with corporate booths, football-themed carnival games and live music.
"Homeless people are telling us over and over again that they’re being cleared out," said Jennifer Friedenbach, director of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness and demonstration organizer. "They’re feeling really squeezed by the Super Bowl and they’re feeling really upset about it.”
The idea of a protest encampment was short-lived, though. A San Francisco police officer warned protesters shortly after they gathered that a few tents erected on the Embarcadero's sidewalk would have to come down within a minute, or arrests would be made.
"It's completely unnecessary," San Francisco resident Sylvia Smith said of the police presence that at times appeared to rival the crowd's numbers. "It's a show of force to protect the property of the elite."