News

UC Berkeley police block access to Occupy The Farm

Occupy the Farm activists at Gill Tract on the morning UC Berkeley police erected vehicle blockades. Photo: Ira Serkes

UC Berkeley police arrived at the Occupy the Farm encampment at Gill Tract in Albany early this morning in order to block incoming vehicle access to the property. They told activists they do not plan to make arrests.

Several UCPD officers were at the camp as early as 6:00am, according to reports by the Daily Cal and Albany Patch. They used bicycle locks to lock the West gate of the Farm and blocked the East gate to San Pablo Avenue with a concrete barricade.

The arrival of the police prompted TV news crews to dispatch helicopters over the site which were heard by many in north Berkeley as well as Albany.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof confirmed to ABC Local that UC police put concrete barriers in place at the two vehicle entrances to the property. He said cars not associated with the university would no longer be allowed in, but people on foot would still be able to come and go.

News helicopter over Gill Tract. Photo: Ira Serkes

At around 7:30 am, activists began moving supplies, tents, the on-site kitchen and camp items to a lot south of Village Creek. Occupy the Farm spokesperson Anya Kamenskaya told Christopher Yee of the Daily Cal that the intention of the group had never been to prevent Cal researchers doing their planting and work on the land. “We began discussing moving things south last week. We have no desire to impede research,” she said.

By 8:30 am, several of the activists at the site were working alongside Cal Professor Miguel Altieri on his plot of land. Altieri conducts research there growing crops without external inputs. He had stated that he would come there today with a group of students to plant about 1,500 dry-farm tomatoes.

Just a couple of UCPD officers remained on the site by 8:45 am, keeping an eye on the entrances and filming people who walked in and out of the site on the eastern side of the access road, according to Albany Patch.

The development follows close on the heels of a statement issued yesterday afternoon by UC Berkeley in which it made plain that, while it hoped the occupation could be resolved peacefully, it would take legal action if a collaborative solution could not be reached.

The farm activists have been on the UC Berkeley-owned property since April 22.

Berkeleyside will report on developments.

Related:
Cal weighs legal action to evict Occupy the Farm activists [05.08.12]
Farm activists: We will leave camp if Cal meets our concerns [05.08.12]
UC Berkeley sets midnight deadline for Occupy the Farm [05.05.12]
Could UC and Occupy the Farm compromise on Gill Tract? [05.04.12]
UC Berkeley to Occupy the Farm: “Time is running out.” [05.03.12]
Occupy the Farm activists issue open letter to community [04.30.12]
UC Berkeley issues open letter to “clear confusion” on Gill Tract [04.27.12]
UC Berkeley calls for peaceful end to Occupy the Farm [04.23.12]

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  • serkes
  • Redrocksrover

    Hard to tell what’s going on while driving by, but the occupants appear to have moved the concrete barriers and reopened the gate on San Pablo Ave. as of 11:00am this morning. There is an easy-up tent at the entrance to the gate with many people milling about and approximately 10-15 people in the fields.

  • BerkeleyCommonSense

    Didn’t they chop a bunch of branches that were being used for research already? When did they decide that they didn’t want to prevent researchers from doing their work? I’ve decided that my neighbor’s house has fallen into such a state of disrepair that I am going to move in and fix it. It’s better for the neighborhood, better for the environment and it’s my god given right as a Berkeley Resident, right?

  • cl3

    I saw a tweet claiming that UCPD threatened the use of tear gas. I didn’t see that myself, but I witnessed asinine behavior by certain UPCD officers, who were inappropriately ordering people around. ‘Don’t stand where I’m talking.’ and other nonsense. Clearly UCPD believes that threats and intimidation are the best way to fulfill their mission.

  • the Deer

    they marched down Virginia street this evening..Hello!