Citizen reporter Robert Singer sent in this striking picture of Civic Center Park. It was taken today, a day after the Occupy Berkeley camp was dismantled. The patches of grass in the foreground are discolored from where tents sat.
Update 10:30 pm: By 10 pm Thursday there were no more tents in Civic Center Plaza. Protesters had left the park by then or thier tents had been picked up by public works crews. The sprinklers were on and about 20 police officers were patrolling the park. Those remaining from Occupy Berkeley were hanging out across the street by Berkeley High School.
In the two months since Occupy Berkeley set up camp in Civic Center Park, Berkeley police have responded to 33 calls for service to the park, 24 of which were classified as crimes. The most serious of these included an attempted rape, a stabbing, and a few assaults. Police also issued 46 citations for smoking in a public space and drinking alcohol.
Berkeley police and some Occupy Berkeley protestors clashed Thursday morning around 12:30 am as police tried to clear a path for a public works truck.
By Frances Dinkelspiel and Judith Scherr
Mayor Tom Bates told Berkeleyside today that the City of Berkeley is determined to avoid the kinds of confrontations that occurred in Oakland and other cities where Occupy movement encampments were removed, despite a decision taken to shut down the tent-city tonight.
The Occupy Berkeley encampment, which has operated without interference since it was established in late October, looks likely to be ended tonight at 10 p.m. A warning was issued yesterday that the park closure law and the illegal lodging law will be enforced from tonight.
Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, whose 4th district includes Civic Center Park, today urged the city to adopt a health and safety plan for the Occupy Berkeley encampment. It calls for a zero tolerance policy on “all violations of the law and park rules, with the exception of camping in the park overnight”.
Update, 2:58 pm: The Berkeley Police Department has issued a list of calls for police services at the Occupy Berkeley camp. There have been a total of 24 reported calls since October 23rd, 16 of which can be classified as crimes (this differs slightly from the numbers previously reported by the BPD and cited in our story below). BPD believes there are crimes and other incidents that have gone unreported, as would be expected at any large gathering. BPD says some cases have involved deadly weapons, and that the number of calls has increased in the past week. Read the full list here.
Berkeley High School Principal Pasquale Scuderi says supervising BHS students during the lunch hour and after school has become more challenging for the school with the growth of the Occupy Berkeley tent-city in Civic Center Park.
While Occupy encampments across the nation are being forcibly disbanded, be it in Oakland, Manhattan or right here on the Cal campus, the tent-city in Berkeley’s Civic Center Park, which was established in early October after gravitating from the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue, remains. Its presence has been marked not by clashes with the police or loud demonstrations, but rather by its inherent low profile.
Update, 7:52pm: Video footage of police beating protesters at today’s Occupy Cal demonstrations has emerged. The following video was uploaded to YouTube by Miles Mathews [Hat-tip: Bruce Love]:
The group of Occupy Berkeley protestors who had made their base the space in front of Bank of America on Shattuck and Center Streets has left that location to join the Occupy Berkeley encampment at MLK Park, according to a sign left at the Shattuck site.
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