Three Tree-Sitters Remain in Oak GroveFour Protesters Leave Oak Grove, One Seeks Medical Attention
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Category: News > City > Crime
And then there were three.
As the bright lights set up to keep watch on the seven remaining tree-sitters in the oak grove shone and the power generators churned late Tuesday night, 19-year-old Drew Beres descended from the grove, the first of four tree-sitters to do so in the following 15 hours.
Three protesters remain in the 19-month long tree-sit aimed at preventing UC Berkeley from going forward with plans to build an athletic training facility on the site, which would require 44 trees in the grove to be cut down. Multiple lawsuits have been filed by community organizations with the same ultimate goal.
Unofficial protest leader Zachary RunningWolf said the remaining tree-sitters plan to stay until at least July 17 when a judge is set to determine whether UC Berkeley will be able to go ahead with construction.
At about 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, three of the tree-sitters were spotted on the ground in the fenced-off grove area.
UCPD arrested Beres at that time for trespassing and violating a court order and the two others "scampered" up a nearby tree, said Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley's executive director of public affairs.
Mitch Celaya, assistant police chief of UCPD, spent about two hours Wednesday morning trying to talk those two tree-sitters down.
Fourteen hours after their initial descent, the two tree-sitters, a male and a female who goes by the name "Olive," left their tree-top roosts after speaking with Celaya. At least one of them requested to make a video statement similar to the one made by Matthew "Mizzo" Marks last week as a condition for coming down.
Soon after, the most vocal of the tree-sitters, known as "Dumpster Muffin," came down from the trees after indicating that she might be suffering from an undetermined medical condition, said Mogulof.
RunningWolf said Dumpster Muffin collapsed on the ground three times after she left her perch in the redwood and sought medical attention afterwards.
"Long exposure and no food or water takes a toll," RunningWolf said. "(The) lighting system and noise (from the power generators) are preventing the tree-sitters from sleeping."
RunningWolf attributed the fallout of the tree-sitters to exhaustion and lack of "real food." The campus has been providing the remaining tree-sitters with energy bars and ten gallons of water every day since last Friday, though protest supporters said that is not enough to keep the tree-sitters "strong."
Campus officials said they are happy that their strategy to get the tree-sitters to leave seems to be successful.
"We are pleased that our approach seems to be working," Mogulof said. "Celaya and his officers did an incredible job (yesterday) with handling a delicate situation (professionally)."
According to an e-mail put out by the Save the Oaks campaign, two long-time tree-sit photographers, Matthew Taylor and David Wallace, want to publish a photo book documenting the tree-sit and the campaign.
Ashley Trott is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected]
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