These are from Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 in Berkeley, CA. After 563 days of tree sitting the court decision as to if UC Berkeley will be able to build their new sports complex on an oak grove they planted in the 1920s next to their Memorial Stadium was expected tomorrow. The UC Police announced that they would be removing the tree sitters either way - either so they could cut down the trees or return the park to normal. The various save the oaks groups were planning on a constant large group there starting tomorrow morning after having done a massive resupply Sunday. Unfortunately for them the UC Police decided it was best to start the process today - before the decision. They did not try to remove people and no arrests were made but they secured the area and started the process of removing shelter, human waste (much of which was dropped on the police as they tried to climb the trees), supplies, etc.
The call to show up and defend the trees went out at about 7:30am. I couldn't make it there until 9:00am but things were still going on and the mainstream media showed up as I was leaving so I don't feel too bad about that.
Let's set up the area - I'm across the street. The park is on the far side, and the trees you see in the foreground are in a planted median strip.
The police had blocked off a huge stretch of sidewalk so you either had to stick to the median strip or stand in the street.
You can just see her riot helmet at her side but most of the police were actually wearing hard hats. The police had basic riot gear with them but not large numbers of flex cuffs - this means they expected some basic trouble but not to make large numbers of arrests.
A lone tree sitter with a backpack and some water suspended himself in plain view. According to the tree sitters spokespeople there were ten more sitters up high in the trees.
They were trying desperately to call friends and get them to come a day early. Don't give any of the supporters crap for not having bathed - they all got woken up and rushed down there.
Meanwhile the folks who got to actually clean up the mess were figuring out the next step. They'd removed a lot of stuff and had a crane handy to remove the larger stuff but there was a bit of a lull while I was there.
A number of police had some kind of camera strapped to their helmets. Others had hand-held cameras.
Notice he has a dust mask - the whole area smelled like urine because the tree sitters had dumped their waste containers on the people climbing the trees. (this according to bystanders and the mainstream media - I didn't see it, but it sure doesn't usually smell like that)
At some point the tree sitter perked up but he was basically bored.
The usual left-wing citizen journalists were there. One thing I've never understood is why they update their stuff so infrequently - even the main support page is months out of date. They've done a terrible job of using the Internet to reach out to more than the usual core Berkeley protest crowd.
Along with permanent Mayoral candidate Zachary Running Wolf who is trying to use this as a campaign issue. Lots of MSM types started interviewing him - he loves to talk.
I recognize a couple of people in this group - it's pretty much the same folks every time. Even in Berkeley this is a fringe issue.
She was wearing a shirt and handing out materials for the Revolutionary Communist Party. Their supporters will gather at any other protest where there's a crowd but I haven't seen this particular gal before. (Update: I'm told she's been with World Can't Wait at the nearby anti-Marine demonstrations, which would fit since they're a communist front group, but I haven't been there lately on a Friday so I can't confirm this. Yes, Fridays is when they protest the USMC - it's all organized these days.)
More of Zachary Running Wolf.
Is that really the goal of a public institution?
Note the guitar case. Somebody was trying to organize singing but it never took off thankfully. On the left's another organizer - he's writing a book and trying to use this to start his activist career. I've made a decision not to name anybody that wouldn't be casually recognized in Berkeley since I don't want to help them. (I actually sympathize with the cutting down of the oaks, but the tree sit's pure BS people are pursuing for their own agendas - the real action is in the court battle which cost the city $250,000 and who knows how much for the college. The city is on the side of the tree sitters, incidentally.)
Mostly people just stood around waiting for something to happen.
There were lots of shouts of "your tax dollars at work!" but I was thinking the same about the education of these folks - at least some appeared to be students.
There were also lots of folks across the street gawking - asking what the issue was. To be fair most students seemed to think it was about time the school did something.
He started handing out sheets of paper with the group's twitter info - you can set it up to text your cell phone if another raid starts or whatever. I'll sometimes sign up for these things but it can get out of hand. I got a $60 phone bill from the Olympic Torch twitters. (Speaking of which, there's a donation button at the bottom - don't do it if you need the cash, but if an extra $5-$20 won't be missed that's been a big help with my expenses.)
This is part of the permanent set of stuff there - they just leave signs and stuff on the sidewalk. I don't know why the UC never removed any of it.
That's some expensive glass.
Just some local color.
Another Revolutionary Communist Party guy - he's a regular, I have shots of him on campus, at the Marine Recruiting Center, and I think at some of the stuff in San Francisco proper as well.
One lone guy actually stood where somebody might see what the fuss was about. There's the URL if you're interested in their side of things.
"I don't think about underwear"
I think that's a good note to end on. Welcome to Berkeley!
I'll swing by for updates if I get a chance. In the meantime Michelle Malkin has a nice post on this (and thanks for the link!)
Update: Zombie has a short report from the afternoon - the main difference is that Berkeley PD blocked off the street, so no more standing in the median strip.
Update II: I've uploaded a report from the next day!
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