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Occupation of UC Berkeley Land Continues for 17th Day

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday May 08, 2012 - 04:20:00 PM

A standoff between protesters and the University of California at Berkeley over a 10-acre plot of university-owned agricultural land in Albany continued into its 17th day today. 

Anya Kamanskaya, of the group Occupy The Farm, said the ball is in the university's court after protesters issued a response late Monday to the university's proposal to resolve the standoff. 

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university planned to respond to the protesters' letter later today. 

Occupy the Farm activists moved onto the site, which is known as the Gill Tract and is located near the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, on April 22, which is Earth Day. 

They've planted vegetables at the site and say they are occupying the land because they want it to be preserved for sustainable agriculture. 

They allege that UC plans to replace the current agricultural land with commercial, recreational and open space. 

But university officials say the existing agricultural fields will continue to be used as an open-air laboratory by the students and faculty of the College of Natural Resources for agricultural research. 

They say the parcel of land slated to be developed is to the south of the Gill Tract, at Monroe Street and San Pablo Avenue. That land hasn't been farmed since World War II, according to the university. 

Kamanskaya said UC police officers came by the site early today to warn protesters that they are trespassing on university property, but she said that isn't unusual because police have been issuing such notices since the protest began. 

She said activists "are committed to farming the land here" and have no plans to leave.