Extra

Updated: Gill Tract Protesters Arrested by U.C. Berkeley Police

By Zack Farmer and Laura Dixon (BCN)
Monday May 14, 2012 - 10:22:00 PM

University of California police arrested nine people this morning who have been trying to make sure that a piece of the school's land in Albany is used for sustainable agriculture, a university spokesman said. 

Two women were arrested at 6:30 a.m. while still on the Gill Tract, located near Marin and San Pablo avenues, and seven others were arrested for being unlawfully assembled on the adjacent sidewalk, University of California at Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. 

"We think it's very unfortunate, we try to avoid this sort of conclusion," Mogulof said. 

Police gave the protesters "ample warning and no tice that if they left voluntarily, they would not be arrested," he said. Officers remained at the Gill Tract late this morning and, according to Mogulof, the police are "taking it day-by-day." 

About 100 officers from eight of the 10 UC campuses, along with a dozen Alameda County sheriff deputies, participated in the clearing of the property, Mogulof said. 

Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sgt. J.D. Nelson said UC police asked for their assistance last week. 

Mogulof said the university had hoped to avoid making arrests but felt the action was necessary to regain full control over the property after weeks of failed negotiations with protesters. 

He said members of Occupy the Farm, protesters who have been occupying the Gill Tract since Earth Day in the name of urban agriculture, either rejected or ignored the university's proposals to compromise. 

"The purpose of today's action is to ensure our faculty and students can conduct the research projects to which they have devoted much of their academic and professional lives," a prepared statement from university officials read. "Over the course of the last three weeks we have consistently stated that the field must be prepared for research crops by the middle of May, and we simply cannot wait any longer lest our faculty and students lose a full year of work." 

The protesters have been planting vegetables at the site during the past three weeks and have demanded that the land be used for sustainable agriculture. 

One protester, Anya Kamanskaya, said police were walking on the plants while attempting to clear the area. 

Occupy the Farm will reconvene at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Albany Community Center, located at 1249 Marin Ave., Kamanskaya said.






















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