San Francisco Clears Homeless Camps Ahead Of International Summit

Officials in San Francisco are facing widespread backlash on social media after it was revealed that they had cleared out homeless camps and open-air drug markets ahead of a visit from top world leaders — including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — as citizens have been demanding the city be cleaned up for some time now.

While California has devolved into what some have described as akin to a “third-world country,” officials have refused to do anything about the problems — including widespread public drug use, rampant homelessness, and skyrocketing crime. Many citizens have called for these problems to be dealt with in the name of public safety, and are now outraged that the issue was finally addressed only because of an impending visit from world leaders and CEOS for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC).

APEC, which has been referred to as the “Super Bowl of World Economies,” is scheduled to hold its 2023 leaders meeting in San Francisco from November 11-17. Leaders of 21 different countries and regions will be in attendance, including President Joe Biden.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tried to dismiss criticism over the sudden cleanup, telling reporters: “I know folks are saying, ‘Oh, they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town.’ That’s true because it’s true — but it’s also true for months and months and months before APEC, we’ve been having conversations.”

According to internal emails obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, city officials were “concerned about historical encampments that are close to priority areas” and discussed a plan to “stay on top of the growing encampments.”

Critics shared photos and videos of the suddenly clean streets of San Francisco on social media, showing areas blocked off with barricades or decorated with new planters where tents and crowds of homeless people had previously lined the sidewalks.

“San Francisco’s homeless population was entirely cleared out for Xi Jinping. The government can easily fix our cities overnight. It just doesn’t want to,” popular X account End Wokeness wrote.

“San Francisco got cleaned up and the homeless population disappeared for Xi Jinping. El Paso did the same for Biden’s visit in January. This proves to you that our government is capable to fix things overnight but doesn’t want to do it for you peasants,” another popular X account wrote, sharing a video comparing San Francisco streets before and after the cleanup.

Meanwhile, one city employee told a local Fox affiliate that he worried “about houseless folks being displaced.”

Local media has reported that a federal injunction requires San Francisco to provide adequate shelter for any homeless individual that they displace by removing their tents from public areas. However, the city has not set up new shelters for homeless people they removed from the streets ahead of APEC and has only opened one additional 30-spot overnight winter shelter while the city works on adding 300 beds to some existing shelters.

“The daily allotment will vary throughout the conference,” homelessness department spokesperson Emily Cohen told the San Francisco Chronicle in an email. “But we are making every effort to maximize shelter capacity across our portfolio for the community to access during APEC and ongoing.”

Speaking with the New York Post, community activist Ricci Lee Wynne slammed San Francisco, arguing that their actions show that “the city had the capability to do this all along — instead, they just do the bare minimum.”

“Once APEC is gone, police presence will start to simmer down again, the tents will return, and it will slowly flare up again,” Wynne added. “What we need is a permanent solution.”