National Catholic Reporter

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Occupy activists arrested in second takeover of San Francisco archdiocesan building


Officers from San Francisco's police and sheriff's departments entered a vacant building owned by the Archdiocese of San Francisco on Wednesday and arrested 26 Occupy activists who had cut through a chain-link fence the previous afternoon and claimed the building for a homeless shelter.

Hundreds traveled from San Francisco's business district to the site near St. Mary's Cathedral and swarmed into the building, but most did not remain overnight. The protesters were part of May Day demonstrations taking place throughout the city.

After entering the building, two Occupiers had climbed to the building's roof and were hurling down bricks and pipes. One bystander was injured. Officers arrested one man on charges of aggravated assault, but waited until the following morning to arrest the remaining trespassers.

This was the second time the two-story building had been occupied during protests. Last month, about 75 people stormed the building and remained there overnight before being arrested.

George Wesolek, spokesman for the archdiocese, told the San Francisco Chronicle the earlier protest had caused $25,000 in damages.

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"We are not the 1 percent. I don't get it," Wesolek said of Tuesday's action. "I think it's an indication of how confused the Occupy movement has become in terms of its goals and its focus."

The archdiocese purchased the building five years ago for use by Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory school for music and art classes. When the school's new theater arts center opened about 18 months ago, the building was put up for lease with the intent to use the revenue for tuition assistance for the school's students from lower-income families.


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