Dave Maass here, manning the computer as protesters at Occupy San Diego prepare for a possible confrontation with the San Diego Police, who've told them they must take their tents down by midnight. ---
9:40 p.m. I just spoke with Benjamin Katz (@MeanestBossEver on Twitter), who's observing the action unfold. According to Katz, Occupy SD has broken into three factions: A group that's gone to Balboa Park, another that's gone somewhere towards the U.S.S. Midway and a group that's staying put at the Civic Center. Here's what he said:
The general assembly just broke up. Tents are being consolidated in one area. It sounds like the likely plan is they're going to end up with a small number of tents and people surrounding them. We'll see how many people are still here at midnight.
It's been dropping a little bit. Maybe 150-200 people are here.
I see about six or eight police. They're certainly not here in any quantities to do anything yet. Without more officers showing up, they would be unable to have any impact on this crowd.
Katz says he supports the activists' right to be there and many of their issues, but doesn't consider himself an active participant in the demonstration.10 p.m. I just spoke with Eugene Davidovich, a spokesman for the pro-medical-marijuana organization Americans for Safe Access, who's been at Occupy San Diego all week. He says that those remaining at the Civic Center, indeed, planning for some civil disobedience at midnight, with a "fall back" location at the park across from the U.S.S. Midway (that's the park with the "Unconditional Surrender" kissing statue).
10:25 p.m. Just got off the horn with CityBeat music editor Peter Holslin, who's been our main writer covering this. He says that several dozen people just finished an impromptu march around Downtown, shouting the usual chants, "Banks got bailed out / We got sold out," "We are the 99 percent," and "This is what democracy looks like."
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11:25 p.m. Just spoke to Democratic Party activist and San Diego ACLU board member Stephen Whitburn, who's viewing the scene from the balcony above Golden Hall. The situation is about the same, still chill.
Whitburn says he drove around the area looking for police staging grounds and found none.
11:32 p.m. CityBeat's arts editor Kinsee Morlan is on scene, now, talking to police.
Police officer just told me they will be "asking people to leave" at midnight. "We don't want to force anybody," he said.
Here are a few images of the last tents standing, shot by Kinsee live.
11:40 p.m. I'm listening to the police and fire scanners, but I haven't heard anything related to the Occupation. In fact, the scanner is full of talk of a big 20-person brawl at a hookah lounge elsewhere in the city.
11:44 p.m. Just posting another perspective of the tents from @OccupyEarthNow.
11:55 P.M. Five minutes until the deadline. CityBeat editor Dave Rolland is on the scene and says there's nothing to indicate the police are going to make a move. There's no major police presence as yet.
However, Rolland says that it's clear these activists are not going to move their own tents and they're willing to get arrested.
12:13 a.m. Midnight's come and gone without police intervention. I'm told there are about 350 people now surrounding the tents who are "all fired up," as Damian Tryon put it. There only seem to be a few cops around.
News stations have begun reporting that SDPD will give protesters a grace period until tomorrow morning.
12:35 a.m. From the balcony above Golden Hall, Stephen Whitburn called to say that two of the police officers up there have left for the night. One told Whitburn that he expected the situation to remain more or less as it is, because SDPD is in "no rush."
I asked Whitburn to describe the last half hour:
Right around midnight [the protesters] started to encircle the tents. They were not really successful in getting the tents completely encircled. It got fairly rowdy for about 15 minutes. I think people were anticipating something happening. Nothing did and it has since calmed down. There's somebody on bullhorn now, but it's fairly low key.