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No Charges Filed Against UC Berkeley Arrestees: Students & Attorney Declare Major Victory
by Open University
Wednesday Dec 16th, 2009 4:57 PM
All eight people arrested during a Friday night protest at the UC Berkeley campus on felony charges – including arson of an occupied building and assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon –have been released from jail without charges.
Oakland, CA-

All eight people arrested during a Friday night protest at the UC Berkeley campus on felony charges – including arson of an occupied building and assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon – have been released from jail without charges.

The eight people arrested, whom some eyewitnesses say were just “bystanders” at the nighttime protest, include two UC Berkeley students, two UC Davis students, one visiting student from City University of New York, one journalist, and two community members who
attended the protest to support the work of student activists.

Yesterday, a throng of supporters packed a courtroom and spilled out into the hallways of the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse to show their support for the defendants, whose arraignments had been scheduled for that day. The crowd of nearly a hundred people erupted into loud cheers when defense attorney John Viola announced that no charges had been filed against the arrestees and that all defendants would be released from Santa Rita Jail later that night.

“The solidarity shown today is partly responsible for the DA doing the right thing,” said Viola. “In addition to demanding for these charges
to be dropped, we are asking for amnesty for the students - that the UC administration not go forward with academic disciplinary proceedings. Students shouldn’t suffer any consequences for their alleged presence at demonstrations to defend public education.”

The Friday night demonstration where the eight had been arrested was organized partially in response to an earlier UC police raid on Wheeler Hall at the Berkeley campus the same day, where students had been holding "Live Week" - a weeklong, 24-hour-a day “study-in” that included workshops, lectures and meetings against UC-wide tuition increases and sweeping cuts to public education. At 5am on Friday morning, sixty-six people were arrested at Wheeler Hall and taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, CA, prompting outrage from many in the campus community. UC administrators now say they had police raid the building after they heard that students were planning to hold a hip hop concert inside Wheeler Hall on Friday evening. But some students from the Student Advocates Office say they believe that the raid had been planned before the announcement of the concert was made.
 
“Just as they have consistently lied about their own motives and provocations, the administration is now lying about the events of Friday in order to threaten and bully the students into possibly accepting their plan to privatize UC and destroy public education in California,” a student told a crowd gathered outside the courthouse in Oakland following the court proceedings yesterday. “Arrests were random, and students and others have been put into positions of severe hardship as a result of the administration's desire to hide the truth. Excessive bail and bond payments are a double insult to students whose fees will already be increasing by 32%.”
 
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