While Occupy Wall Street protesters on the East Coast endured freezing temperatures and snowfall last week, rain was enough to push a large number of Occupy protesters out of downtown San Diego Friday.
Occupier Lauren Bunn estimated that as many as 75 percent of protesters left the campsite outside of Civic Center Plaza when the rain came down Friday morning.
Bunn has been sleeping on the sidewalk along Third St. since police told the protesters to remove their tents and property from Civic Center Plaza two weeks ago. Police said the establishment was a violation of municipal code.
Since then, about 50 protesters have been sleeping on the new Third St. location.
The dwindling numbers concern Bunn, but if rain is enough to send them packing, they aren’t truly committed to the cause, she said.
She and another protester erected tarps over their sleeping bags Friday afternoon. The two worried about rain leaking onto their belongings. They also wondered whether the police would be considering the tarps an encroachment.
Lt. Andra Brown with the SDPD said that police will make determinations on the tarps on a case-by-case basis, but they will likely not be considered encroachment.
“If they’re using them like umbrellas to shelter themselves from the weather, that’s one thing,” Brown said. “It would be inhumane to take that away.”
Police also told the protesters Thursday that they will have to get a permit to keep their belongings on the street. Protester John Kenny said he was attempting to acquire a six month-long permit to stay in the area.