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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Wed Jan 10 2024
UC Berkeley Moves to Kill People's Park Forever
Wall of Shipping Containers Intended to Keep the Public Out of People's Park
For over 50 years, UC Berkeley has wanted to destroy People's Park, land it had purchased through eminent domain, but left unused, even after having destroyed the houses that were originally on the property. The land was reclaimed by local radical activists in April 1969. They wanted a free speech area not directly controlled by the university so they planted trees and converted the lot into a community resource. During a large protest to protect the park from UC construction on May 15, 1969, James Rector, watching from a nearby rooftop, was shot and killed by police. Ever since, despite periodic struggles required to defend the park from development, which often included pulling down fencing the university erected, the park has served as an open space for area residents, a home base for activists, and a literal home for unhoused Berkeley residents.

Even as an outstanding case awaits a final decision from the California Supreme Court regarding student housing, UC Berkeley intends to build on the land. The university went in for the kill on People's Park shortly before midnight on January 3, sending in hundreds of police to clear the park of people and to make way for wall of shipping containers stacked two-high around the entire perimeter of the park. Cops from the University of California, California State University, California Highway Patrol, Alameda County Sheriff, and San Francisco County Sheriff participated in the raid, drawing crowd control weapons on those inside the park and on those protesting outside. As soon as police had control of the park, chainsaws began removing trees, bulldozers wrecked existing structures, and cranes pushed around dirt and debris.

Protesters were ready for the raid, with knowledge that UC was about to move on the park, but police closed nearby streets and set up barricades to prevent more from coming to defend the park. Several demonstrators were arrested. Protests have continued on Telegraph Avenue and other surrounding areas while UC finished the wall, which now features security cameras.

event Save Peoples Park | photo UC's War on People's Park, The Defense & Destruction of People's Park with Harvey Smith | attention!! calling all graffiti artists! | photo People's Park Closed and Cleared but Protests Continue | photo Police Draw Weapons in Raid on People's Park | photo People's Park Fortress Berkeley as UC, Newsom, Berkeley Pols & Police Blockade Park | article UC Berkeley Violated Injunction as People's Park Case Continues in State Supreme Court | event People's Park Rally and March (come anytime) | article Over 1000 Law Enforcement Personnel Converging in Berkeley for People's Park | article 5am Tues: Stop Bulldozing of People's Park! | event Gaza style 'urban renewal' for Berkeley??

external PeoplesPark.org | external Wikipedia history

Related Features: Resistance to Save People's Park Continues Despite Police Assault (2022) | Anomymous Communiqués Claim Responsibility for Four Actions Across 19 Properties (2021) | University of California Puts Up Fencing and Takes First Steps to Privatize People's Park (2021) | Two-Week Celebration of Resistance Marks 50th Anniversary of People's Park (2019) | Berkeley's Historic People's Park Facing Attacks from Police and Tree Cutters (2018) | Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin Backs UCB's Plan for Development on People's Park (2018) | Berkeley Mayor and UC Chancellor Agree to End People's Park (2017) | Treesitter Midnight Matt Remains in Jail After Having Defended Himself from Aggressors (2011) | Organizers Calling for Supporters to Come Out to Ongoing People's Park Tree Sit (2010) | People's Park Anniversary (2007)
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