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Occupy Cal Plans to Re-Group

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Friday November 18, 2011 - 08:15:00 AM

About 200 Occupy Cal protesters gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley last night for a general assembly meeting to decide if they will set up an encampment again.  

The meeting began about 15 hours after police officers from UC Berkeley and other agencies disbanded an encampment of about 21 tents that had been set up Tuesday night. Police also arrested two men for failure to disperse and unlawful assembly.  

Navid Shaghaghi, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, said Occupy Cal protesters will decide whether to try to set up an encampment again tonight or another time in the near future.  

He said they also would consider postponing a decision and instead travel to the Occupy San Francisco site because there are rumors that police might disband that encampment tonight.  

Shaghaghi said he was one of about 30 to 40 students who were camped out on the steps of Sproul Hall when 150 officers who he said were in full riot gear swarmed in to remove the tents that had been set up. He said most of the students "made a tactical move to avoid being arrested" so they could videotape officers while they dismantled the encampment.  

Shaghaghi said the students were upset that officers destroyed art work that had been set up in the area, such as a papier mache dinosaur called a "regent-a-saurus."  

Officers also destroyed the protesters' tents, although the protesters were able to keep their personal belongings, he said.  

The turnout of about 200 people is much smaller than the estimated crowd of about 3,000 people who came to Sproul Plaza Tuesday night for a general assembly meeting and a speech by public policy professor and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.  

But Shaghaghi said he thinks "the turnout is pretty good," although he admitted "you always want bigger." He said the gathering "is a very workable size."  

Occupy Cal protesters claim that the gathering Tuesday night was the largest general assembly meeting in the short history of the Occupy Wall Street movement.