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New: UC Berkeley Students Rally, Teach, March in Support of Occupy Cal Strike

By Patricia Decker (BCN)and Planet
Tuesday November 15, 2011 - 08:48:00 AM
Michael O'Malley

Students, workers, faculty and community members rallied on the University of California at Berkeley campus today as part of the Occupy Cal strike. 

Last week, hundreds of people who participated in a Nov. 9 general assembly on the campus voted for a campus "strike" to be held today. 

More than two-dozen teach outs, workshops and performances were scheduled between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. People converged on Sproul Plaza at noon, and a general assembly is scheduled for 5 p.m. 

According to the university, the protesters have renewed a call for establishing an encampment, which campus administrators have said is prohibited. 

Members of the Occupy Oakland protest were expected to march to the Berkeley campus, meeting at 2:30 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza, according to the Occupy Oakland website.  

Robert Slaughter, who said he was one of the demonstrators who was arrested during the Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protest, spoke about his arrest and detention at a rally near campus at Bancroft and Telegraph avenues. 

Slaughter, a student at St. Mary's College in Moraga, had been issued an order to stay away from the Berkeley campus. He claims he was racially profiled and harassed by police and sheriff's deputies, and that after his arrest he was separated from the rest of the protesters in county jail and was held longer than anyone else.  

This evening, an annual lecture that honors the memory of Mario Savio, a key member of the 1964 Free Speech Movement that began on campus, was moved to Sproul Plaza from its original location in Pauley Ballroom, which is in the student union across from Sproul Hall.  

Robert Reich, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley and former U.S. labor secretary, will deliver the annual memorial lecture at 8 p.m. on the steps of Sproul Hall.  

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau on Monday issued a statement about last week's protests and granted amnesty to the students arrested for attempting to prevent the removal of the occupation's tents.  

Birgeneau also announced the creation of a review board to assess the police response to the protests. Several people, including Slaughter and Celeste Langan, a tenured associate professor in the English Department, have accused police of using excessive force.  

"When the student in front of me was forcibly removed, I held out my wrist and said 'Arrest me! Arrest me!" Langan wrote in a blog post about her experience.  

"But rather than take my wrist or arm, the police grabbed me by my hair and yanked me forward to the ground ... The injuries I sustained were relatively minor ... but also unnecessary and unjustified," she said.