Last week, over 150 heavily armed police officers came with guns and chainsaws to cut down our trees and trash our homes. Six people – community members and students – were violently awoken and handcuffed at 5 am, on charges of “illegal camping” – because they had put up tents and tarps as shelter from the rain. All of their belongings were seized or trashed.
We reject the UC’s claim that this is about sick trees. This is about razing one of Berkeley’s few public spaces to turn it into privatized, luxury dorms. Some trees were supposedly removed because they were “too close to other trees”. Others were completely removed over health issues that are normally solved by removing a branch. The only thing “wrong” with those trees was that they stood in the way of the construction equipment the UC intends to bring in.
They came in the dark of night, during break, when they knew most students would be away from Berkeley, to make it look like students didn’t care. Join us in the park at 11:30 for a rally, and then march to campus, to show the UC that the park belongs to the People, not militarized cops and not private corporations!