A day designated to “Occupy Cal” included dawn to dusk protest activities on the UC Berkeley campus on Wednesday, including outdoor classes, a large noontime rally, a slightly smaller but still vigorous march to the Telegraph Avenue Bank of America, debate and establishment of a small tent occupation on campus, and a mid-afternoon confrontation with UC Police which resulted in removal of some of the tents and a few arrests.
As dusk fell and a full moon rose over the Berkeley Hills, three news helicopters thrummed above Sproul Plaza and hundreds milled about two tents set up after the afternoon occupation.
Most of the protest occurred quite close to my campus office so I was able to take a late lunch to watch part of the rally and march. Later, when shouting arose I stepped outside for a short mid-afternoon break to watch the tent confrontation, then returned after work to see what remained.
Two photo essays will be posted here, a combination of my pictures and other contributed pictures. The first essay traces the events of the day in roughly chronological sequence. The second shows the wide variety of protest signs that were hoisted during the demonstrations.
My rough estimate was that the lunch hour Sproul Plaza crowd numbered over a thousand active participants, and perhaps as many curious and interested spectators. The short Southside march included hundreds, and perhaps three or four hundred reassembled on campus and were involved when the tent confrontation occurred. Evening saw several hundred participants and curious passersby in Sproul Plaza and on the Mario Savio Steps.
The Telegraph marchers left the campus at Bancroft and Telegraph, moved down one block to Durant while Berkeley Police motorcycle officers stopped north and eastbound traffic, chanted in front of the entrances to the Bank of America branch, then turned eastbound up Durant before returning to the campus.
Protest and rally activities then centered in the Sproul Plaza area, particularly around the northwest corner of Sproul Hall.
Good event-by-event coverage of the protests can be found on the Daily Californian website and live blog, especially the on-going evening events as UC administrators met with the students. Go to http://www.dailycal.org/ for the most recent stories and for the live blog see http://www.dailycal.org/2011/11/09/live-blog-day-of-action-2/
The protestors are following some of the protocols of the rest of the “Occupy Movement” including no formal leaders, “General Assemblies” where speakers are heard and mass votes are taken, and crowd members repeating the sentences of speakers so what’s said can carry to the edges of the audience. Calls of “Mic Check!” are shouted out when someone is about to speak.
The protestors voted to endorse two proposals at the afternoon General Assembly. They’re posted on Daily Cal website here:
The UC Berkeley official NewsCenter also posted an on-going blog with updates on activities, which can be found here:
See the sidebar of that blog for links to official statements by Chancellor Birgeneau and other campus leaders, and “messages” from the Graduate Assembly and the ASUC.