The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department won’t set up a designated space for demonstrators protesting the building of the border wall prototypes on Otay Mesa.
Spokesman Ryan Keim said Wednesday that as long as any protests are peaceful and don’t tread on private property, demonstrators won’t be confined to a specific area, known as a “free speech zone.”
“We’re not telling anyone, this is where you have to be,” he said. “We’re not designating a place.”
Two weeks ago the department, concerned about large-scale protests against the controversial wall project, said it was evaluating whether to set up a zone.
As the project got underway Tuesday, federal officials with the Border Patrol told media that such a zone would be established. But that information was never confirmed by the sheriff’s department, with Keim repeatedly saying no decision had been made.
The confusion got cleared up Wednesday, the second day of construction work on Otay Mesa. And for the second straight day, there were no signs of protests or demonstrations around the area on Enrico Fermi Drive where the building location is accessed.
The area is home to light-industrial and business parks, filled with trucking firms, warehouses and shipping firms.
Two of the six contractors who won a competition to build prototypes of walls were at work at the site Wednesday morning.
One worker was slightly injured just before 10 a.m. when he fell 40 feet down a 36-inch wide hole that had been bored by a large auger.
The worker was able to slow his fall using his elbows, and suffered scraped elbows. He was quickly lifted out of the hole by fellow workers, treated at the scene and later returned to work.
The mishap which officials dubbed an accident occurred when Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol officials escorted media out to the building site. Access to the area is restricted.
There was little to see — one crew pushed dirt around using a front end loader, and another used the auger to dig holes.
In all eight wall prototypes are to be constructed in the area over the next 30 days — four made of concrete, and four of “other materials.” Each wall is to be 30-feet long and 18 feet to 30 feet tall. They have to extend to a depth of six feet, can’t be climbed, and be able to resist tampering and attempts to penetrate it.
There are six contractors because two companies, Caddell Construction of…