These are from Friday, September 5th in Berkeley, CA
These are the evening pictures from when things really heated up - if you want to see the morning with lots of chainsaw action, or just need a recap of events, check out the morning pictures. But basically the morning was prep work and by this time they were knocking down entire trees. Apparently part of the delay had to do with pulling in work crews at short notice, but with the prep work all done the clearing happened stunningly quickly.
First thought - holy crap, you can see the stadium.
A lot of the supporters were just eating, they'd given up. They seemed to be getting along well with the police at this point - I saw one protester cheerfully explaining which bin was for recycling the cop's empty water bottles. I should probably mention that some of the UC police are from different UCs and get called in when things heat up here, so some individual cops are well known to the protesters and others are relatively new.
I'd say there were more Cal students than tree supporters. I found zero overlap between the two groups. The tree supporters get very huffy if you mention this, and will point out some ex students here and there. But there's no doubt that there was never any kind of wide student support or there would be a lot more people there - Cal has about 25,000 undergraduates (we'll ignore the grad students, they have enough problems). If 1% of the students crossed the street in support they would have had 270 people instead of 20. If 5% of the students had crossed the street - 1,250 - the UC would have been terrified to bring in enough cops and use enough force to actually maintain their lines. They let themselves be bullied by a couple of dozen people into feeding the tree sitters and putting up with all kinds of crap for 20 months because they were afraid of public opinion - can you imagine how the Regents would have acted if they had ever had a thousand students show up? Or 100, for that matter...
Of course, if that happened, the pro-football folks would have organized to counter - you should see the traffic I've been getting from pro-Cal athletics blogs and forums on this issue - they care about this stuff as deeply as the tree sitters do, they just don't feel the need to camp out in the street to show it unless it actually became necessary. Since the real battle was in the courts, and the sitters never had the resources to do anything outside the courts, it wasn't necessary.
You used to just get a hint of the stadium behind the trees - you can really see the difference even where there are still trees standing.
More Cal supporters. There were a ton of them, these just happened to be dressed the part (It's probably not obvious to folks who aren't from here, but even the guy on the left has a Cal Bears shirt).
This is the redwood - the last tree sitters are there but they're pretty isolated.
Eventually somebody realized what the sign said and started an argument. There's lots of this on the video.
Look at the ham in the background! This lady was especially annoyed with their sign. She made the reasonable point that they were being rude and they should let them say goodbye to the trees and mourn in their own way. Reasonable except that this had been turned into such a circus by the protesters themselves that one more sign hardly mattered, especially since they stood there a long time before anybody even realized what the sign said. There were no problems until people started yelling at them.
One tidbit is that apparently Ayr, their main supporter, finally argued enough with these guys that he was arrested but it happened just as I was leaving so my information is second hand.
More stadium. You can see freshly fallen trees - the video is really going to be the bulk of this report - you can see the tree actually falling.
Man that's an ugly hat. He's one of their main supporters, arrested multiple times. I mostly didn't shoot the main oaks supporters because some of them were in tears and I'm respectful that way, but some of them were better prepared mentally than others. Actually, I was sad myself - oak trees are very dear to me, and it was painful to watch them fall, but my love of oaks is exactly why I hike so much in the east bay hills where there are thousands of them.
I like throwing in Berkeley cars sometimes!
OK, enough of this - the real meat of this report is the video... one thing I should explain is the Cal student waving away a hippie-looking woman (Terri Compost?) had just politely told the very upset tree supporter that no, she would not like a hug, please move along.
Language warning! These folks are unpleasant! Direct link to video (watch it in high quality!).
Thanks to the folks at California Golden Blogs for their support!
Note that there were a number of arrests after I left - I'm sure the Daily Cal will have all the details sooner or later - they've done a much better job of covering this than the mainstream media. Most of the local media outlets including the local paper have extremely pro-trees people doing the reporting, quoting tree supporters almost exclusively (which was hard today - there were so few of them compared to Cal Bears supporters). It's just shameful frankly, especially when they make the tree sitters themselves look like rebels instead of a bunch of homeless potheads, at least one of which turned out to be a bail jumper with multiple theft warrants waiting for her.
Also... a largish earthquake around 9pm! Hopefully the actual tree sitters were clipped in or something...
Note: There's a ceremony to mourn the trees, Sunday Sept 6th at 2:00pm. Hopefully the workers won't actually be knocking down trees or shredding them - can you imagine? I won't make it but will try to drop by in the next couple of days to get some "after" shots. They're not clearing the whole grove. 42 are called for in the master plan, although I think given the speed they're working at and the lack of space they were less surgical and indicated as many as 50 might be removed. Wouldn't it be ironic if the one accomplishment of the tree sit was the destruction of eight more trees than Cal originally intended?
You can contact me at info (at) ProtestShooter.com