Tree-Sit Continues Two Days After Ruling

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Correction Appended

The excitement surrounding the oak grove adjacent to UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium began to dwindle yesterday, a day after Alameda Superior Court Judge Barbara J. Miller issued her long-awaited ruling over a proposed athletic center.

The ruling did not lift the injunction prohibiting the campus from beginning construction, but it stated that some parts of the stadium plan needed to be changed in order to comply with environmental and earthquake laws.

According to Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley's executive director of public affairs, the grove was much quieter yesterday, which he attributed to the progress made by the campus-hired arborists. The arborists have been removing supplies from the trees since early Tuesday morning.

UCPD extracted a second tree-sitter from the grove yesterday at about 5 p.m. The sitter came without a struggle, unlike the tree-sitter extracted Tuesday, Mogulof said.

Gabrielle "Millipede" Silverman was arrested and taken out of the grove on Tuesday after allegedly grappling with and biting the arm of an arborist.

According to Mogulof, UCPD will arrest sitters if it seems that they will not put up a fight. This is different from UCPD's original policy of removing only supplies, not people.

"They will remove them if they think they can do it peacefully," Mogulof said, adding that whether extraction is safe will be judged on a case-by-case basis. "The police have done a very good job, no one's been hurt," he said.

Mogulof claimed at a press conference yesterday afternoon that a rumor that UCPD is dehydrating the sitters to make them come down is false.

"There's no strategy, because anytime the people in the trees want to, they're welcome to come on down. They can drink, they can shower, they can eat, they can change clothes," he said.

Yesterday's relative calm was a contrast to Tuesday's volatile atmosphere, when tree-sitters responded to the arborists' attempts to remove their supplies by pouring urine and feces, among other things.

Including the two extracted tree-sitters, there have been seven arrests at the oak grove as of Thursday evening since the campus sent the arborists into the grove on Tuesday.

Mogulof said the campus is not releasing the name of the firm supplying the arborists to protect their safety.

"Firms that have engaged in these sorts of activities in the past have suffered acts of vandalism and personal threats, so we're going to be protecting the identity of that firm," Mogulof said.

Besides precautions such as covering the license plates of the arborists's cars, campus officials have called UCPD officers from other campuses for additional assistance. The extra UCPD patrol officers arrived yesterday.

"This is a complicated operation, we're not a huge force, obviously in order to maintain security we need a little bit of help," Mogulof said.

Ayr, an unofficial spokesperson for the tree-sitters, yelled back from outside the fenced-off press conference claiming that if the sitters came down, they would immediately face arrest.

"This is an illegal, despicable act against brave and beautiful people. UC needs to immediately stop this dangerous behavior and sit down with the community members to solve this problem peacefully," Ayr said.


Correction: Monday, July 14, 2008
The article incorrectly stated that Marisa Schneidman was arrested and taken out of the oak grove near UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium after allegedly grappling with and biting the arm of an arborist. In fact, it was Gabrielle Silverman.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Contact Hadas Goshen at [email protected]

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