Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy UC Berkeley!!!

 Eva Hagberg, 832-794-2595,
Alex V. Barnard, 928-606-3586,
Mandy Cohen, UAW, 413-522-2795,

At 3:30AM Thursday, November 17, more than fifty riot police from UCPD and other local agencies attacked Occupy Cal, forcibly removing the tent encampment and its inhabitants from Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley.  By all accounts, the raid was unprovoked.  Occupy Cal was formed in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland, and in opposition to the cuts to and privatization of California’s public education systems. Students, workers, faculty, staff, and community members had been using the camp to educate and organize students around the struggle for public education, using the space as an inclusive, public place of dialogue, organizing, and community-building.
The first attempt to establish Occupy Cal on November 9 ended in the brutal beatings and arrests of students and faculty by Bay Area police. On November 15, UC Berkeley's campus-wide strike and day of action culminated in the largest assembly in the occupy movement thus far, in which over a thousand people voted overwhelmingly to establish a tent encampment on campus as a form of free speech and free assembly.
Following this massive outcry against the repression of free speech and activism at UC Berkeley, Occupy Cal protesters called for Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and the UC administration to respect free speech and non-violent protest on campus.  Attacking non-violent protesters who were asleep and at a time early in the morning when the number of supporters present were low explicitly suggest otherwise.
Students, faculty, workers, and community members will regroup today, Thursday, November 17, at 10AM to plan for a series of actions against this repression, including a mass reconvergence at 5PM to precede the scheduled 6PM General Assembly on the Mario Savio Steps at Sproul Plaza.

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