Tag Archives: Occupy Berkeley

Occupy Berkeley: the day after

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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.

Police have said tents can stay up during the day, but are prohibited between 10 pm and 6 am.

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Bulk of Occupy Berkeley camp cleaned out

Public works workers remove a Christmas tree from the Occupy Berkeley encampment in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, Thursday, December 22, 2011. Photo by David Yee
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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.

 

Berkeley city workers came into Civic Center Park around 1 pm on Thursday and cleaned out the majority of the Occupy Berkeley encampment.

Workers from the public works department, some dressed in light blue haz mat suits, drove a big truck onto the grass and started loading abandoned tents, sleeping bags, chairs, and other items. The 14 workers were accompanied by about 30 Berkeley police officers who stood ready to moderate any clashes with protestors.

But the bulk of the camp had already vacated. Protestors had taken down more than half of the 70 tents at the park by Wednesday night, and another dozen in the morning.

“What we are doing here is a collaborative project to pick up trash and unattended property,” said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley police department. She said police would not be dismantling occupied tents since it is legal to be in the park in daylight hours.

But the city strategy seemed very effective. By mid-afternoon there were only about seven tents left in the park. The huge mounds of garbage were gone and only ghosts of tents remained, mainly in patches of grass that had turned brown because they had been covered by nylon tents for so long. … Continue reading »

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Police Blotter: Occupy Berkeley

Dan Stone packs up his tent at the Occupy Berkeley encampment in case they are removed from Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, late Wednesday, December 21, 2011. Photo by David Yee
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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.

At its height, there were about 70 tents pitched at the park with a population of about 150 people.

Berkeley police released this partial list of activity at the Occupy Berkeley camp.

10/23/11 11:25 p.m. Battery
Did not wish police services

10/24/11 11:11 a.m. Assault with a Deadly Weapon (Felony) – a Stick, Brandishing, Threats, Battery
A victim from Occupy Berkeley to safety at the Public Safety Building after a known woman suspect living in a tent there attacked and threatened him, causing lacerations to the side of his face. The suspect accused the victim of stealing her money and then attacked him. The suspect allegedly scratched his face with her fingernails, pulled out a knife and chased him, trying to stab him, and then picked up a picket sign stick and beat him. She threatened to have the victim killed by her acquaintances from Oakland. There were people in the area/likely numerous witnesses in Occupy Berkeley at the time, but nobody would cooperate with BPD officers on scene. … Continue reading »

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Police and Occupy Berkeley protestors clash in streets

Police confront Occupy Berkeley protestors Thursday morning. Photo: Steve Leibel / stevelimages.com
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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.

Protestors rushed a public works truck that was parked in front of the Berkeley police department on Martin Luther King Way. Some of them jumped into the back of the truck to retrieve belongings that had been confiscated earlier by police. They pulled out a duffle bag, a traffic cone, and other small … Continue reading »

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Despite eviction notice, no raid on Occupy Berkeley

Craig Evans keeps watch as his wife sleeps in their tent. Photo: David Yee
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By Frances Dinkelspiel and Judith Scherr

Under the threat of eviction, protestors at Occupy Berkeley took down about 40 tents in Civic Center Park Wednesday night, preparing for the raid that never came.

As a 10 pm deadline to stop camping in the park loomed, many activists were packing up their gear and loading it up on trucks. Some had stashed their possessions in a safe place, but had returned to the park to confront the police if they showed up. Soon, only about 29 out of about 70 tents remained.

“I’ve got my stuff packed but I’m not leaving,” a man who identified himself as Cincinnati said as the deadline loomed. “I’m going to take the streets.”

But the desire to confront police and stand ground was shared by only some of the 150 people who have made up Occupy Berkeley. Maxina Ventura, who has been staying in the park off and on with her children ever since it started two months ago, took down her tent on Wednesday. She said she could no longer stand behind the radical fringe of protestors who seemed determined to fight police at all costs.

“We had to make it clear we were not a front for those people,” said Ventura.

Berkeley police, acting on orders from interim City Manager Christine Daniel, handed out notices on Dec. 20 that the city would no longer look the other way during the park’s 10 pm to 6 am curfew. … Continue reading »

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Mayor Bates: City ‘not interested’ in confrontation tonight

The encampment in Civic Center Park includes food tents as well as rudimentary lean-tos. Photos: Lance Knobel
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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.

“We are mobilizing tonight to protect the park,” Bates said. “We’re not interested in some confrontation. Basically it’s a zero tolerance policy, ratcheting up things. We’ll see how it goes from here.”

The situation in the park has worsened steadily, according to Bates. Last night, he said, there was an arrest for attempted rape in the encampment. There were several cases of food poisoning today as well, he said. He said no major confrontation was planned, but could not predict how events would unfurl tonight.

Bates said the decision to issue last night’s notice to the encampment, which declared that both the park closure and illegal lodging laws would be enforced from 10 p.m. tonight, came from the city manager’s office to the police.

“We’re not going to make any massive raid on people. That’s not going to happen,” he said. “We’ll have to see how things play out. A lot will depend on how people react to the notice. Maybe people will honor that and think it’s time to go home.” … Continue reading »

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Occupy Berkeley shutdown likely at 10 p.m. tonight

The notice that was handed out last night at 10 p.m. in the Civic Center Park encampment
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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.

The notice stated: “Berkeley Municipal Code (“BMC”) § 6.32.020 prohibits being in a City park from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. This park is closed at 10 p.m. Starting December 21, 2011, this law … Continue reading »

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Councilman: Zero tolerance on Occupy Berkeley

New proposal calls for a zero tolerance policy for Occupy Berkeley. Photo: Lance Knobel
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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”.

“We cannot wait. We have to take action now,” Arreguín said. “We have to be making it clear to people that the laws will be enforced. That will ensure health and safety while at the same time respecting peoples’ rights to assembly and free speech.”

Arreguín’s suggested guidelines for city staff and police comes a day after the city distributed notice to the Occupy Berkeley encampment that enforcement would be stepped up. … Continue reading »

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How long can Occupy Berkeley last?

The scores of tents in the Occupy Berkeley encampment sit next door to Berkeley High School. Photo: Lance Knobel
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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.

Original story: Without media fanfare or loud demonstrations, the Occupy Berkeley encampment in Civic Center Park has grown to about 90 tents. As Berkeleyside reported, the “radical inclusivity” of the Occupy Berkeley gathering has created tensions. City officials and local police have adopted a policy of monitoring and tolerance, rather than threats and injunctions. City staff and police patrol the encampment regularly. But with both Oakland and San Francisco Occupy sites now closed, what is the likely future for the Bay Area’s last significant Occupy movement site? Not everybody is comfortable with its ongoing presence.

Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, whose 4th district includes Civic Center Park, has views that are echoed by other city officials. “We don’t have any plans to clear people out of the park,” Arreguín said. “I have supported the Occupy encampment from the beginning. There may come a point — I don’t believe the point is now — where we have to ask the people to go. It’s inevitable that the conversation will have to happen.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High concerned about Civic Park Occupy camp

Occupy Berkeley camp
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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.

In a letter to the BHS community sent out by email Wednesday, Scuderi noted that the burgeoning camp has made it more difficult for school administrators and safety staff to keep an eye on and visually identify students among the settlers in the park, a number of whom “may not be connected to or interested in the advocacy being conducted by the actual Occupy Berkeley movement”.

Scuderi, who estimates there are now around 90 tents in the park, says there have been no negative interactions with the campers. The school currently has two administrators monitoring the park during the lunch hour. … Continue reading »

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Occupy Berkeley remains, experiment is proving fragile

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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.

Over the past few weeks, it has quietly grown in size and, while showing no sign of leaving, it is nevertheless struggling with the consequences of its policy of radical inclusivity. Occupy Berkeley campers and supporters are engaging in loud and long disagreements and debates as they try to figure out the best approach to a world which opens its doors to all who walk in: decent people, as well as thieves and assailants. … Continue reading »

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Protesters vote to set up Occupy Cal camp at UC Berkeley

Protestors met for a general assembly at around 1:45 pm today at Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus. Photos: Tracey Taylor

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]:

Update, 4:36 pm: Protesters have been attempting to set up tents and clashing with police at the Cal Occupy demonstrations on campus, according to various media reports. UC Berkeley spokesperson Janet Gilmore confirmed to the Daily Californian that there have been six arrests over the course of the day. UCPD have issued dispersal notices and have been taking down tents erected by protesters. Shortly after 4:00 pm, protesters were attempting to convene another general assembly.

This afternoon, Berkeley councilmember Kriss Worthington sent a letter to the UC Chancellor and the UCPD Chief complaining of what he says appears to be the suppression of free speech by the UCPD. … Continue reading »

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Occupy Berkeley consolidates camp, supports Oakland

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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.

Citizen reporter Michael Roberts is concerned about the detritus they have left behind, which includes flags, a chair, table and litter.

“While I support many of the aims of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I’m truly disappointed in the local Occupy Berkeley protestors who, according to a sign, have moved from their spot at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street in front of the Bank of America to the park at Center and Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said. … Continue reading »

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