The Occupy the Farm activists who took over UC Berkeley-owned Gill Tract in Albany on April 22 had largely dispersed by 3:00 pm Monday after the university sent in 100 police officers from eight of the ten UC campus to clear the protesters from the property early in the day.
UC Police have set up barricades at the main entrance to the fields on San Pablo Avenue, and are preventing anyone from parking on the stretch of the avenue that fronts the property. A few activists were present outside the gate and across the street from the site, as was a TV crew, this afternoon, but otherwise the scene was quiet.
A total of nine arrests were made at around 6:30 am this morning, two for trespassing and the others for unlawful assembly, failure to disperse and resisting arrest. A solitary protester remains on the site. He has taken up residence in a tree, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof, who says the police are leaving him alone for now.
Mogulof says the university decided to deploy police in high numbers because experience shows that an overwhelming number of police leads to a reduction in confrontation.
The Cal College of Natural Resources will now begin to prepare the Gill Tract fields for their research purposes. They will also be making an assessment of how much of the planting done by the Gill Tract Farmers Collective can be saved. “We hope that the bulk of it can be kept,” said Mogulof.
Mogulof also confirmed that no development is planned for this part of the UC Berkeley-owned land in Albany. A proposal to build a Whole Foods market and senior housing facility on the plot to the south of the Gill Tract has been under review for some time. Another proposal has also been drafted for open recreational space on the Gill Tract itself for a time in the future when, and if, the land stops being used for agricultural research, he said.
A “Fuck the Police” demonstration is being planned for Monday evening at the Occupy the Farm site, according to many discussions on Twitter.
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UC Berkeley speaks of impasse, seals off Occupy Farm [05.10.12]
Activists: Farming and research can coexist, no need for police [05.10.12]
UC Berkeley files lawsuit against Occupy the Farm activists [05.09.12]
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]