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UC Berkeley Students Arrested After Occupy Cal Protest

November 10, 2011

Students' clenched fists raised in air in protestIn a violent altercation, University of California, Berkeley police Wednesday arrested seven protesters who were establishing an Occupy Cal camp on college grounds despite previous warnings against doing so.

When individuals began pitching tents in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza in the afternoon, riot gear-clad campus police armed with bean bag guns announced that camping at the university was illegal and faced off with protesters holding hands and chanting, "Hold the line," according to The Huffington Post. Police pushed through the crowd, hitting with their batons those who resisted, the Contra Costa Times reported. Officers tore down the tents and arrested six UC Berkeley students and one associate professor for failing to disperse and resisting officers.

"Stop beating students," those in the crowd chanted, according to the The Huffington Post. "Put down the guns."

After the police left, students again set up their camp at the school. This resulted in a second showdown with the law.

Earlier in the week, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau told students in an e-mail that "any activities such as pulling fire alarms, occupying buildings, setting up encampments, graffiti or other destructive actions" wouldn't be tolerated.

"In these challenging times, we simply cannot afford to spend our precious resources and, in particular, student tuition on costly and avoidable expenses associated with violence or vandalism, Birgeneau wrote, as quoted by the Contra Costa Times.

The conflict between police and protesters topped off an otherwise calm Occupy Cal day of action on and off campus designed to show support for affordable higher education and the Occupy movement, reported The Daily Californian. Protests began at 8:30 a.m. with primarily graduate student instructors participating in teach-out lectures in various spots on campus.

"I think fighting for public education is very important - public education is our right," Sarah Anne Minkin, a graduate student instructor in the university's Department of Sociology who led a teach-out discussion, said to The Daily Californian. "I think that it's important to be a part of this movement for me, as a human being, it's important, and as a teacher it's important for the students to get to be a part of it as well."

Picketers held signs referencing various topics from student loans to affirmative action. A noontime rally drew more than 1,000 protesters, including members of Occupy Oakland, the UPTE-CWA 9119 union, Raza and the Against Cuts organization, noted The Daily Californian.

Following that, protesters marched down Telegraph Avenue to Bank of America and chanted, "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

UC Berkeley Doctoral Student Mahendra Prasad passed out fact sheets, explaining California's financial situation, the Contra Costa Times reported. Prasad said students need a better understanding of the issues.

"If people understand the issues, they can better understand what to do about them," he was reported as saying in the Contra Costa Times. "I don't think they're very knowledgeable about it."


Compiled by Doresa Banning

Sources:

"Occupy UC Berkeley Protesters Face Violent Confrontation With Campus Police (VIDEO)," huffingtonpost.com, November 10, 2011

"Over a Thousand Participate in Occupy Cal Protest," dailycal.org, November 10, 2011, Alisha Azevedo and Geena Cova

"Police Arrest UC Berkeley Students, Professor Over Occupy Camp," contracostatimes.com, November 10, 2011, Matt Krupnick

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