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Occupy Cal Coverage

| November 10, 2011
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2:05 p.m. From AP:

Student activists at the University of California, Berkeley are regrouping the day after police arrested dozens of Occupy protesters who tried to establish an encampment on campus.

Graduate student Amanda Armstrong says Occupy Cal activists are meeting Thursday evening to plan a demonstration Tuesday to protest budget cuts to higher education. It’s unclear whether they will again try to set up a camp.

Protesters are also planning to march to downtown Berkeley to protest big banks Thursday afternoon.

Campus police Capt. Margo Bennett says on Thursday morning police arrested one person who had pitched a tent near Sproul Plaza and attempted to stop an officer from taking it down.

Bennett says 39 protesters were arrested Wednesday after they clashed with police trying to dismantle a small camp next to the main plaza.

The scene at Occupy Cal today. (Peter Jon Shuler/KQED)

Also this from AP…Looks like the person who had pitched that lone tent only to have it confiscated by a police officer has been arrested. (See the 11:11 a.m. update.)

Campus police Capt. Margo Bennett says on Thursday morning police arrested one person who had pitched a tent near Sproul Plaza and attempted to stop an officer from taking it down.

11:11 a.m. Our reporter Peter Jon Shuler is at UC Berkeley today and reports the following odd incident, which happened around 10:40 a.m.:

I was on Sproul Plaza and suddenly saw a scuffle up on the steps of the administration building. An officer was walking hurriedly away with the one tent that had been erected as a symbol of the protest.

I didn’t see the officer actually grab the tent, but an eyewitness said he had snatched it in the midst of a peaceful teach-in, running up and grabbing it. As he ran off, I saw a crowd try to stop him, and he jabbed at them with his baton. The other officers then came to the officer’s aid, forming a circle around him and pushing people back with their batons.

One witness described the officer’s action as “like a three year old’s.”

Students are now discussing the incident and police are standing back.

11:30 a.m. Statement from the Berkeley Police Dept. today:

“There has been some widespread confusion as to the law enforcement entities that were involved in the Occupy Cal events of last evening. Members of the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) were not part of any mutual aid or assistance last evening/night. We have received calls and emails about our presence there.

Out of respect and policy, we defer to UCPD to speak to their jurisdiction, activities and what assistance they sought.”

“City of Berkeley Police department (BPD) did manage the protest/demonstration during a part of the afternoon of November 9, 2011 when the group of several hundred marched onto City of Berkeley streets which are our jurisdiction. Groups have often done this when protesting or demonstrating in the past. BPD had bike officers, motor officers, parking enforcement officers and patrol officers to maintain community safety, the safety of participants, officer safety and to monitor the group for any unlawful activity. There was much verbal energy but no arrests were made. It went fairly smoothly. BPD managed the march until the group returned to UC campus.”

11:35 a.m. The Daily Cal is live-blogging today’s events via Storify. The Oakland Tribune is also live-blogging.


Videos show police battling students

This video from yesterday’s Occupy Cal protest is getting an awful lot of attention today. It shows university police aggressively beating back students with batons.

10 a.m. It appears the cops pictured in the video may not be from UC. We’re Checking on this…

10:30 a.m. Some people on Twitter and on message boards are saying the police shown thrusting their clubs at students in the video are from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. I called the department and spokesperson J.D. Nelson says the officers are not from Alameda County.

1 p.m. KQED’s Dan Brekke, who blogged the confrontation last night, writes “it’s safe to say UC Police are the ones in the forefront of the action in this video. Alameda County cops are visible on the periphery but do not appear to take part in the main confrontation here.”

However, Brekke points out another video, in which Alameda County Sheriff officers use the same baton-jabbing technique as seen in the footage above. It’s unclear if the two videos depict different incidents, the same incident at different times, or the same incident at the same time, but at different locations.

And this close-up video from the Daily Cal shows more jabbing by Alameda County Sheriff personnel:

The Daily Cal, the university’s student newspaper, has more videos, and the Chron has some dramatic photos.

Earlier post
Yesterday’s protest focused on cutbacks in the higher education budget and drew about 1,500 people, according to one estimate. Police and students engaged in two violent confrontations and at least 39 arrests were made, as students tried to erect an Occupy encampment and were prevented. The Chronicle reports a Cal English professor was arrested.

KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler is on-campus at Sproul Plaza now. He reports the scene is quiet, with dozens of students gathered in separate crowds. Police are standing off to the side and their presence is minimal. There is one tent up, and about a dozen people are standing around it.

The protest was part of coordinated student actions at public universities across the state. Twelve UCLA students were arrested in Los Angeles.

Listen to Rachael Myrow’s report on the protests from The California Report this morning.

The site Student Activism yesterday live-blogged events and is continuing today.

Students have vowed to reconvene at 10 a.m. We’ll have reports as they come in. Here’s the #occupycal Twitter feed:



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