Approximately 100 University police moved in yesterday on the Occupy the Farm group and arrested nine people, ending the 23 day occupation.
Police announced they would be moving in and gave people time to leave. According to UC police spokesperson Lt Eric Tejada, police gave a warning to leave every minute for ten minutes. Two people who stayed on the tract were arrested for trespass. 7 others who were waiting outside the property were arrested for unlawful assembly for failure to disperse after a dispersal order.
According to the Mercury News , one protester remained perched in a tree, UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. ”He’ll be down soon,” Mogulof said. “He doesn’t have any supplies up there with him.”
Mogulof and Lt. Tejada said police found ten people sleeping on the land when they arrived. Occupiers stated that “no one was camped on the land when the police moved in”.
Mogulof said that the police would maintain a “stepped up presence” on the property for awhile. He said if the University hadn’t taken action, a whole year’s worth of research could have been lost.
Mogulof said the university had hoped to avoid “any kind of confrontation” and had undertaken a “patient dialogue” over the past few weeks with the activists, who refused to cede control of the area back to the university. College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless visited the site to speak with members of Occupy the Farm on numerous occasions…Mogulof added: “You can’t do good science when you have a few dozen uninvited, untrained guests roaming around in what is essentially an open-air laboratory”.
Mogulof had said they were not against working with Occupiers and allowing them to do farming there but that ”All they needed to do was agree to work with us to coordinate activities.” The regents had said they would drop their suit if the protesters quit trespassing and joined in a discussion Saturday about how to use the land for both urban farming and for the plant research faculty members are planning for the site.
The Albany Patch reported the Occupy response:
”This land has been fought over for decades,” said Anya Kamenskaya, a spokesperson for the Gill Tract Farmers Collective (via the group’s afternoon news release). ”UC needs to let go of control and supervision of this land. For decades, it has fenced off this land from use by the community. Today’s show of force is merely another in a long history of the UC’s rejection of community access to this prized piece of farmland.”
Most of those arrested appear to have already been released, although at least some of them appear to have been given 7 day “stay away” from the property orders.
Occupiers are talking about meeting at the Albany library at 5 pm today for a “reconvergence meeting”. Expect an attempt to take back the land.
Video of Occupiers chanting outside “Whose farm? Our farm!”
Another video of Occupiers heckling the police outside the Gill Tract. WARNING: Profane language/gestures: