(Report from Occupy Cal above from Northern California BAMN Coordinator, Yvette Felarca.)
BAMN was in the front lines and giving speeches throughout the day at Berkeley on November 9, 2011 during the Occupy Cal day of action. The demands of the protest were to reverse the fee hikes, cuts, and privatization in California’s public universities and across the world.
When protesters set up an encampment, UC-Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau used tremendous police violence to try to clear protesters who were protecting the tents:
UC police yank women by their hair:
UC police savagely beat protesters (original high-definition video):
However, students stood strong and refused to back down. Although the police destroyed the tents and arrested 8 people including a professor, hundreds of students still stood defiantly before them and they had to retreat:
Students held a General Assembly (GA) to discuss the movement and the day. UC-Berkeley Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry LeGrande arrived and read out a proposal to allow people to stay in the plaza, but prohibiting tents, sleeping bags, cooking, and sleeping. The GA discussed and rejected the proposal overwhelmingly to defend their free speech rights, 369 to 4.
Students fanned out to bring out roommates and friends. When the police moved in again at 9:30pm, they charged students and beat them, arresting 31 more including a professor:
However, students amassed in the plaza and the police backed down when about 3,000 people filled the plaza chanting: “Hey hey, ho ho! The riot cops have got to go!” and “¡Sí Se Puede!”
Although the police once again ripped down our tents, the students had occupied Sproul Plaza! Here at the home of the Free Speech Movement, people held another mass meeting in Sproul, voting 570 to 30 to call a universitywide strike for Tuesday, Nov. 15, the day before the statewide mobilization to the UC Regents meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
BAMN will publish a statement responding to these tremendous events with a perspective on where we go from here. Subscribe to our website and stay tuned!