UPDATED on September 30, 2:05 p.m .: Since then, neighborhood residents have asked the city to remove the rocks, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, saying they were being attacked by anti-rock opponents. The city announced Monday that the rocks will soon be moved.
Original Story: Some well-off San Francisco who try to prevent homeless people from sleeping in their neighborhood decided to invest in 24 large rocks to block a stretch of sidewalk.
It is not going very well.
The rocks first appeared on the sidewalk about two weeks ago, bringing with it a touch of mystery and much outrage. (Some activists thought the city had bought the big rocks, but the neighbors came forward to say they had joined together to raise almost $ 2,000 for the boulders, which they saw as necessary. The city says the rocks are legal and not will eliminate them.)
"You are seeing a territorial war one night. It reached the point where everyone had just finished," an anonymous rock bearer told KGO, a local ABC affiliate. "People had knives and guns and people were fighting, carrying and waking people in the neighborhood."
But instead of helping to solve anything, boulders have caused activists and neighbors to go to war. Some activists see the boulders as representatives of San Francisco's disdain for the poor, and have thrown the rocks into the street at least three times during the past week, according to SFist.
READ: Los Angeles could start punishing the homeless depending on where they sleep
"It's unfortunate that people push them off the sidewalk and onto the road. It's not a sure thing," Rachel Gordon, spokesman for the city's public works department, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Every time the rocks are pushed towards the road, city employees put them back on the sidewalk.
But they may not be there for a long time.
An artist included the free rocks on Craigslist last week, inviting people to pick them up. KPIX-5, the local CBS affiliate, has called these events the "rock battle."
The situation in San Francisco is one of the worst examples in the country of increasing incomes without control and great disparity of wealth. (Income there has begun to stabilize, but there is still a serious lack of affordable housing). As a result, its homeless population has increased to around 9,800, an increase of 30 percent since 2017. The Bay Area also lacks adequate beds to house all of its homeless people, and residents have repeatedly tried to block any New potential refuge.
The current boulder battle is not the first time the city has tried to use boulders to prevent camps: a photo of a rainbow-colored "pride" rock in San Francisco that was intended to deter homeless people, even It went viral in June. There have also been other forms of the so-called "hostile architecture," such as barbed ledges or sharp bars to prevent people from going to bed. A Catholic church in San Francisco even made national headlines in 2015 after installing sprinklers on its doors to soak the homeless who sought refuge there.
Hostility towards the homeless goes beyond the neighborhood level. President Donald Trump, when he visited San Francisco earlier this month, said the homeless were ruining the "best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings" in the city. His administration told California he was violating environmental water quality standards, citing excrement. of homeless people arriving in the Pacific Ocean.
"They have to clean it," Trump said of San Francisco. "We cannot allow our cities to go to hell."
Cover: May 10, 2019, USA UU., San Francisco: the homeless have established a camp near the headquarters of Uber, Twitter and other technology companies. A homeless man pushes a shopping cart with his belongings along Market Street. Twitter headquarters is in the background. Photo by: Barbara Munker / picture-alliance / dpa / AP Images
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