One Protester Arrested, Eight Others Remain on Ledge at UC Berkeley

By Rachel Purdy (BCN)
Thursday March 03, 2011 - 07:04:00 PM

Classes inside Wheeler Hall have been canceled as eight student protesters, six of whom are chained together, stand on its ledge on the University of California at Berkeley campus, a UC Berkeley spokesman said. 

The protesters are chained to an antenna on the building's fourth floor to protest budget cuts to public education in front of a crowd of about 300 people, said Callie Maidhof, a second-year doctoral student at UC Berkeley. 

Police arrested one protester who was not chained to the others on the ledge at about 2:15 p.m., UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore said. 

Two other protesters remain on the ledge moving about freely, but university police have secured the building, Gilmore said 

"This is a serious safety issue," UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. 

"We're going to make sure the health and safety of people are not compromised," Gilmore said. 

Protesters hung four large paper banners in front of Wheeler Hall that listed the demands of protesters, who seek to end operational excellence, stop the budget cuts, democratize the region and stop police brutality, Maidhof said. 

The students have also been using a bullhorn to criticize the arrest of 17 other protesters at UC Berkeley last night. 

Fourteen of the protesters have been released and were scheduled for a court appearance at 2 p.m. today, Maidhof said. 

One of the students arrested, who asked not to be named, was outside Wheeler Hall protesting as of 5:30 p.m. The 20-year-old UC Berkeley ethnic studies student began protesting inside the building at about 5 p.m. Tuesday. 

She said that because the protest was designed to be an open and inviting atmosphere that there was free food and live music Tuesday. 

At about 10 p.m., police first ordered protesters to leave, she said. 

"We linked arms until police physically separated us," the student said. At about 10:30 p.m., Berkeley police arrested her for trespassing. 

She said she was released from jail at about 8 a.m. and returned at 2 p.m. for her court appearance, where she was not formally charged. 

The student said she was protesting because she thought the budget cuts would limit an educational system that is already broken. 

"I want people to realize we do have access to education and access to public space because we're all human beings," she said. "We'll put chains on our bodies if they put chains on our minds." 

She said she hopes these protests make an impact with UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau. 

According to the student, the other three students arrested remain in jail, and are scheduled for court tomorrow morning. 



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