Health Concerns Drive Campus to Supply Water to Tree-Sitters

Two Sitters Voluntarily Leave Oak Grove

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The campus resupplied the remaining tree-sitters at the oak grove near Memorial Stadium on Thursday with a case of 24 half-liter water bottles, said Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley's executive director of public affairs. At least six protesters remain in the grove.

Mogulof said the decision to resupply the sitters came when the protesters told UCPD officers that they were in need of water. Many protest supporters and community members have previously accused the campus of deliberately attempting to dehydrate the tree-sitters in an effort to force them to descend from the grove or face starvation.

Two more of the remaining tree-sitters voluntarily descended from the tree top Wednesday night.

Bradley Costello, 20, and Matthew Marks, 24, also known as "Squirtle" and "Mizzo" respectively, were arrested by UCPD officers upon their descent for violating the court order that declared the tree-sit to be illegal. Both were promptly released from jail as part of an agreement for coming down, made between the protesters and UCPD, Costello said.

Before leaving the tree, Marks, a UC Berkeley student, filmed a video that has since been loaded onto YouTube explaining his motives for leaving the protest. In the video, he said he had to return to work at a Santa Cruz preschool for children with autism.

Marks, who ascended the trees just last week, said his departure was unrelated to dwindling supplies following UCPD's recent policy of preventing supporters from resupplying the sitters.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with the starve-out," he said.

Campus-hired arborists have cut down much of the tree-sitters' supplies since June 17. Since then, four tree-sitters have either been extracted from the trees or come down voluntarily, including Costello and Marks.

Costello said overcrowding in the tree and fear of forceful extraction motivated his departure. There were previously nine people in the tree, Costello said.

"I felt like I had done my part," he said.

A tree-sit supporter known as "Onyx" said he was confident that the remaining tree-sitters are resolute.

"They aren't coming down until we win," he said.

Mogulof has said UCPD will extract the sitters, who are now confined to a single tree, if officers deem that it can be done safely.

"They will remove them if they think they can do it peacefully," he said.


Contact Matthew Peters at [email protected]

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