Outside a San Francisco court Wednesday, city officials and civil rights groups held dueling rallies about an injunction restricting the city from clearing homeless encampments.
The dueling protesters tried to shout each other down with opposing chants of "save our streets" and "housing is a human right" outside the court at around 9 a.m. Wednesday.
A Standard reporter on the scene says protesters supporting the end of the injunction outnumber counter-protesters by a wide margin.
San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu appeared at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to try to persuade a three-judge panel to toss out the injunction restricting the city from clearing homeless encampments.
Mayor London Breed and three members of the Board of Supervisors—supervisors Rafael Mandelman, Matt Dorsey and Joel Engardio—are heading up a rally calling attention to the impacts of the injunction.
Mandelman said his constituents see encampments in the Castro District and local merchants have voiced concerns.
“We shouldn’t let people camp in public, especially when those camps are correlated with drug use and disrupt business,” Mandelman said.
“It’s good to build affordable housing, but we need to create the space for people to get well before moving into housing,” Engardio said.
The call for greater investment in shelter beds comes as the city grapples with a $728 million budget deficit.
The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club organized the counterprotest opposing the appeal.
“Our rally sends a clear message that we stand united for justice, compassion and accountability from the city and Mayor London Breed," the club's president, Jeffrey Kwong, said in an email. "We are standing up with the ACLU and [Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area] to demand judicial oversight over the city’s utter failure to address the homelessness and housing crisis.”
ACLU Northern California Director Abdi Soltani said encampment sweeps are ineffective at addressing homelessness and that shelter options are not provided when they are carried out.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Garrett Leahy can be reached at email@example.com