SAN FRANCISCO
10/11/2012 03:55 pm ET

World Homeless Day San Francisco Leads To 20 Arrests (PHOTOS)

Police arrested 20 people in San Francisco's Castro District on Wednesday, after a group of protesters briefly took over a vacant building as part of a World Homeless Day demonstration.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, about 50 protesters gathered at Dolores Park on Wednesday evening before marching through the Mission and Castro Districts chanting "homes not jails."

The crowd reportedly broke into an empty building at 536 Castro St. in an effort to convert the vacant space into a safe place for the homeless.

Shortly after, police officers entered the building and arrested the 20 people inside.

Wednesday's demonstration was part of a worldwide day of action against homelessness. Events were reported in Oakland, London, Toledo, Tulsa and other cities across the globe, and ranged from protests to pop-up soup kitchens to fundraisers for homeless veterans.

In San Francisco, where homelessness is especially prevalent, demonstrators expressed frustration with the city's lack of affordable housing.

"It's insane that there are 10,000 homeless and we have vacant units," said Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of the counseling program at Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, to Mission Local. "If the landlord's got so much money that he can keep it vacant, then let the city take it."

"You could put a nonprofit soup kitchen in there," said Castro resident Jesse Oliver Sanford about the vacant building to the San Francisco Bay Guardian. "I don't understand why we're not providing more services."

Check out photos from World Homeless Day San Francisco courtesy of Steve Rhodes in our slideshow below:

PHOTO GALLERY
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World Homeless Day San Francisco
PHOTO GALLERY
World Homeless Day San Francisco

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