From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense | Global Justice & Anti-Capitalism | Police State & Prisons
Four Arrests, A Tractor Sit-In, and A Destroyed Farm
by Ryan Rising
Monday May 13th, 2013 1:55 PM
Four people are arrested today attempting to plant and then defend a community farm in Albany, CA on a piece of land owned and planned to be paved over and developed by the University of California at Berkeley. Many farmers express they want a peaceful and voluntary shift towards all people taking care of each other, and also that destruction of food will not be tolerated. RISE UP
Today, May 13, 2013, four people are arrested in attempting to plant and maintain a community farm on a piece of land planned to be developed and turned into an asphalt parking lot and grocery store. The group Occupy The Farm went on to the Gill Tract Saturday, May 11th to liberate the land and planted out many rows and beds of vegetables, greens, and other edible plants.

Pictures from the first day can be seen here:

Folks camped out Saturday night and continued to farm all day Sunday. When Monday morning came, so did the UC Berkeley Police and Albany Police Department, who arrived around 4a.m. and began to evict people sleeping on the land from the farm.
One person was arrested during the early morning process and is currently in the Berkeley jail, awaiting trial in the morning.

As the morning went on, police mounted in greater numbers, blocking entrance to the farm at its gates and across the entire Monroe Street entrance. Then, we saw why such a presence had been mounted, complete with batons, riot helmets, plastic handcuffs, and the usual police weaponry.

A large tractor complete with a scoop in front and a plough in back entered the land from Monroe Street. In the moment of harsh realization, a brave individual climbed and jumped over the fence, running past and out maneuvering the police that tried to chase, tackle, and beat him with clubs. The actor made it all the way through the field and to the tractor about 50 yards away from the fence line. Climbing up the tractor and into the scoop to prevent its intended use, the "runner" sat down refusing to move or let the tractor move either. A second runner jumped the fence in support and was taken down and arrested by UC police shortly before the first was removed from the scoop and arrested. Both are now in Berkeley Jail awaiting trial in the morning.

As the police demanded that even the people outside the fence clear off the land entirely, and also remove their presence from the sidewalk, essentially eliminating them from the area, a few folks decided to stand strong in front of the Occupy the Farm banners to "Sprout Farms Not Grocery Stores," and one was arrested and brutally dragged away in a choke hold by a UC Police officer.

After such a show of violent force, and many conversations with the police regarding their willingness to engage in violence to enforce a social dynamic of land deprivation, hunger, and malnutrition, folks packed up the camp for next time, vowing to return at 5pm to contest access to the land. All are invited to join Occupy the Farm at 5 pm, Monday, May 13th at San Pablo and Monroe.