Occupy Cal back on campus
It looks like Occupy Cal isn’t going down without a fight. Last week, protesters returned to UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza with seven tents and a giant eight-foot tall red mushroom, despite university regulations prohibiting overnight camping.
According to Navid Shaghaghi, a senior at UC Berkeley, the group returned to Sproul Plaza on Thursday to commemorate the three-month anniversary of a November 9 protest where 40 people were arrested. Shaghaghi told CBS San Francisco:
“We’re here to re-establish the occupation of our space and to display to the campus community that we haven’t gone away.”
Campus police have issued repeated warnings to the protesters that it is a violation of university policy to have tents on campus but they have not made any arrests so far.
According to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada, police are taking a different approach than they did during the November 9 protest wherein police violently clashed with protesters. He said:
“We are monitoring the situation. We’ll take action when it is needed.”
Shaghaghi also said the group returned to occupying the plaza because “not much has changed since last time.” Despite the UC Board of Regents postponement of tuition increases, he said students are still worried about tuition hikes in the future.
He wasn’t sure how long the protesters would remain, but as of Monday night at least 25 students were still occupying the Plaza. But according to Twitter posts this morning, it seems the encampment may have been moved to in front of Doe Library. [blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/OccupyCalCampus/status/169460537636290562″]
According to UC Berkeley spokeswoman Claire Holmes, the university understands the protesters’ concerns about possible tuition hikes and they are working hard to keep tuition costs affordable.
He said Occupy Cal protesters and activists at other campuses across the state will stage large protests the first week of March to ask for more funding for education.