Tempers flare with U.C. Berkeley treesitters

June 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Treesitting protest led to at least one arrest Sunday. University police are keeping supporters with food and water away from the protestors and tempers are flaring.

Most of the action took place between 2p.m. and 3p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The battle was over food and water.

U.C. Berkeley extended the security perimeter beyond the sidewalk and closed down street, making it very difficult for the protestors to supply the tree sitters.

At least three protestors willingly defied the campus police and tried to help the tree sitters. All three were arrested, along with five others who were arrested last night. Most of them are being charged with aiding and abetting the treesitters. Past few days have seen hot and dry conditions and many are concerned with the health of the tree-sitters.

"If they die, you're going to have to look yourself in the eye every day in the mirror and know that you caused it. You will have been responsible for the murder of those people," yelled one protestor.

"What we re doing today, is really pleading for these people to come down so we can end this peacefully. We are not allowing food and water in because the people in the trees have told us, as they have told the press, that they have an ample supply of both. We are continuing to monitor the situation on a day-by-day basis. If the status quo changes, we'll be ready to reevaluate what we re doing," says spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Mogulof says they are in constant contact with the tree sitters. Last week they cut down all the supply lines and all but one platform. Nine tree sitters are now in one tree using one platform.

They were given the authority to remove the tree sitters but did not step up the efforts until last week. That was one day before the judge handed down a ruling whether the university could build the sports facility. The judge says there was substantial evidence in favor of the university, but attorneys for the plaintiff including the city of Berkeley and two neighborhood organizations say one of the rulings in their favor will prevent the university from building on the dangerous Hayward Fault.


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