UC Berkeley gives Gill Tract occupiers ultimatum

ALBANY, Calif.

The protestors have been camped out on a piece of land called the "Gill Tract" at San Pablo and Marin Avenues for almost three weeks. First came the blockades, then the locked gates, then the police. Now, they have been given a choice. If they clear out by Saturday morning, the University of California says the occupiers will have input at a community meeting to decide what happens there in the future.

"We really hope they're able to take yes for an answer," UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said. The latest communication from the University of California to those occupying the Gill Tract is to get out by Saturday morning to secure exactly two seats in a larger community meeting about urban farming on the property. "They have until 10:00 tomorrow morning to decide if they want to have a seat at the table for those discussions about how exactly we'll keep urban agriculture going, and they have the choice to make about whether they want to have collaboration or possible confrontation," Mogulof said.

Despite having the tract fenced in and police and private security on hand, the occupiers show no sign of pulling up stakes and leaving. On Friday afternoon, there was another fresh water delivery, albeit from outside the fence. "No, we're not going to leave by 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, or at least, that's not currently the plan," Gopal Dayaneni said. "It's kind of absurd. It's like two seats at the table for a closed meeting that doesn't involve everyone in the community and all the different folks who are interested."

The gates may be locked, but that hasn't stopped anyone from coming or going. Berkeley's Judith Barish brought her three kids to help out at Occupy the Farm and had no qualms about their climbing the fence to get in. "People often have to break the law to stand up for something they believe in and while the university may or may not have law on its side, we think that the occupiers here have justice on their side," she said. "Oh, no, I climb over fences a lot," her daughter Sasha said laughingly when asked if she had issues with the fence-hopping.

Saturday's community meeting is supposed to happen about the same time as the 10 a.m. deadline. The university would not say where that meeting will be held.

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