Angry protestors storm UC Berkeley chancellor's home

December 12, 2009 7:07:15 PM PST
Campus protests at UC Berkeley took a turn for the worse Friday night, when a mob of protesters stormed the chancellor's home breaking windows and lights, leaving the chancellor and his wife shaken. So far, eight protestors have been arrested.

The university is outraged. They say they know that more than eight people were involved and they want police to make more arrests.

It was an attack that came quickly and left an impact. 40 to 70 people showed up at Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's home around 11 p.m. and started destroying everything in sight.

"They began to, in effect, to storm the house," said UC Berkeley PIO Dan Mogulof. "They threw incendiary devices. They shattered windows. They broke a variety of pots, lights."

The chancellor and his wife were home at the time and released a statement saying," These are criminals, not activists. The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives."

On Saturday, both University President Mark Yudof and Governor Schwarzenegger put out statements condemning the attack.

The attack came on the heels of mass arrests made early Friday morning. Students had been occupying Wheeler Hall since Monday in protest of 32 percent tuition fee increases.

The university was okay with it until a flyer circulated, promoting a student-planned all-night hip hop party at Wheeler. Campus police felt there could be a violent outcome and took action.

"Without any warning or provocation, at 5:30 in the morning, the police came in and essentially dragged people out of their sleeping bags," recalled graduate student Amanda Armstrong.

Armstrong has been involved with the Wheeler student movement since day one. She was not a part of, nor does she condone, the attack on the chancellor. But, she also does not think her groups efforts will but hurt by it.

"If anyone's legitimacy is going to be thrown into question from the events of the last few weeks, I would say it would be the administration and the regents," she told ABC7.

One student who admitted to being a part of the group that vandalized the chancellor's home told ABC7 the action was justified and in direct response to the Wheeler arrests.

Students on campus have mixed feelings about the events.

"Sure, I'm shocked by it," said graduate student Paul Hauser. "But, I'm also shocked that they raised the fees by 33 percent.

Student Andrew Smith told ABC7 simply, "This is unacceptable. I would not be behind them."

A friend of the eight people arrested said all eight remained behind bars at the Santa Rita County Jail Saturday evening. He also mentioned that bail was set very high, one being set at $132,000.


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