Occupy Cal holds mass sleep out

November 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Monday night, at UC Berkeley students are taking part in a mass sleep-out as part of Occupy Cal. It's happening in front of Sproul Hall.

Occupy Cal is looking to continue the momentum for their movement so they organized a sleep-out. It got underway around 9 p.m. and basically, it's one big slumber party, but without any tents.

Occupy Cal is taking a different approach. At the so-called mass sleep-out in front of Sproul Hall, protesters decided to ditch the tents, for now.

"It's a chance for everyone in the community to get together without the pressure of having tents. Tents seem to be this sort of lightning rod issue," said protester Eva Hagberg.

Protesters first pitched tents earlier this month and UC Berkeley police responded aggressively. Many say officers used excessive force against the students who were trying to keep the encampment from being raided.

Yet despite the outrage surrounding that encounter, Occupy Cal says it's time to put the focus back on why they started their movement in the first place.

"It's not about the tents for us, right? It's about the cuts in education, the cuts to public space and that are voices aren't being heard," said protester Megan Vrolijk.

"We really have been peaceful throughout this whole thing so a sleep out is a way to take back public space and I guess to a certain extent work around the 'no tents' and 'no encampment' policy," said Ariella Powers.

Protesters spread the word about this latest demonstration by wearing pajama bottoms to class. But while it's being called a sleep out, not much sleeping is expected to take place. Organizers have arranged for food, music, and even study sessions.

"We're going to have a lot of folks out here tonight reading, on the books and stuff and I think that's what we're all doing all the time is working on our studies, we're in class, we're here. Every spare moment we have we're doing our work, but we're also doing this because it's a really important political movement," said Zachary Manfredi.

There were at least a couple hundred people that kicked off the event.

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