Berkeley tree sitters' supplies cut

June 18, 2008 7:58:04 AM PDT
Those protestors perched in the trees at UC Berkeley's Oak Grove got a rude awakening Tuesday morning. Their supply lines to the ground were suddenly severed.

Wednesday may be a big day for the Oak Grove tree sitters, when a judge is expected to announce her ruling which could decide the fate of these tree sitters.

Arborists were hired by UC Berkeley to cut supply lines and cables connecting a network of shelters used by tree sitters for more than a year and a half.

"We are demanding the University immediately seize and desist this dangerous operation. They're cutting people's safety lines. They're cutting people's safety gear. We are demanding they stop right now," said Ayar a protest organizer.

Three protesters on the ground were detained for trespassing and another tree sitter was physically removed from her platform. Angry protesters say the university promised it would not remove any tree sitters.

"They were attacked by the young lady. Bit in the arm, hit. We really had no choice but to take her in," said Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesperson.

This comes one day before a judge is expected to rule on a lawsuit to stop construction of a sports training center on this site. The lawsuit was filed by the City of Berkeley, citing safety issues because it lies on the Hayward Fault.

"The judge has finished her deliberations. The time has come," said Moguloff.

The arborists were armed with a transparent shield to deflect flying objects.

"Our police officers, the arborists have been assaulted with human waste that's being used as a weapon, with projectiles, with heavy objects," said Moguloff.

We asked protest organizer Zachary Running Wolf if he endorses those tactics.

"Each person has their own means of self defense, and yes I do. This University has instigated starvation tactics here," said Zachary Running Wolf.

"They should not be doing this today. They should wait to hear the judges decision," said Former Berkeley Mayor Shirly Dean.

Former Berkeley Mayor Dean believes a compromise could be worked out if the city and university would sit down and talk.

"The community is willing to do it. I think the university is not, and that is the tragedy of all this," said Dean.

Regardless of Wednesday's legal ruling, the university says it will continue its efforts to cut down supply lines and the platforms of these tree sitters because it's been calling it a dangerous occupation of school property.


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