Tree-Sitter Begins Arboreal Activism in People's Park

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One man began a tree-sit Monday in People's Park, protesting potential changes to the park that he said he believes could be greatly impacted by the results of the Nov. 2 election.

The man, who identified himself as Midnight Matt, appeared to be about 14 feet off the ground on a wooden board, which also held some of his belongings. He said he had been in the tree, located in the northeast corner of the park, since about midnight Sunday by himself and expected more to join him, though he remained alone as of Monday afternoon.

"We think the university plans on making a move on the park," he said. "George Beier has already said he wants a soccer field and a museum in here."

Beier, a District 7 City Council candidate, said he would like a memorial to be built honoring the history of the park with the goal of bringing in more people because "more people in the park means more safety in the park."

Midnight Matt said another reason for his one-man tree-sit is District 7 Councilmember Kriss Worthington - the incumbent in the election - does not have a strong interest in defending the park.

Worthington has said he favors asking UC Berkeley to sell the park back to the city to be managed.

UCPD became aware of the man's actions sometime Monday morning, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, who said police will keep an eye on the situation.

"It's been peaceful, and we're making frequent checks to make sure the situation out there does not impact public safety and the rights of visitors or frequents of the park," he said.

Midnight Matt said he hopes to see others turn out in support of leaving the park as it is.

"We will be here however long it takes until this park remains a park," he said.


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