Berkeley Activists Celebrate Anniversary of UC Santa Cruz's Tree-Sit

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Two months after the end of UC Berkeley's tree-sit, the longest urban tree-sit in history, activists who once spent their time in Berkeley visited UC Santa Cruz Friday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Santa Cruz's tree-sit.

While the protesters celebrated the anniversary, Berkeley activists also shared tips and experiences they had gained during their involvement with the protest in Berkeley.

At the same time, police and administration officials at both campuses say they too are communicating and sharing advice and tactics learned during Berkeley's 648-day protest.

Last year, a number of activists took to the trees in Santa Cruz to protest the campus's proposed Biomedical Sciences Facility. Protesters say they are concerned that animal research will be conducted in the facility and its construction could cause the removal of redwood trees.

While Berkeley's tree-sit was still active, protesters from Santa Cruz often came to Berkeley to share supplies and emotional support, said Zachary RunningWolf, a supporter of Berkeley's tree-sit.

Now, members of Berkeley's tree-sit are doing the same for the protesters in Santa Cruz.

"A lot of our tree-sitters get down there and help them out. A lot of our people have been down there and we supported each other when we had ours going," RunningWolf said.

Jennifer Charles, a spokesperson for the tree-sit in Santa Cruz, said visits from fellow protesters boosted morale.

"Having that support from other people who are going though a same process and seeing a lot of our struggles are similar is really powerful," she said.

The tree-sitters in Santa Cruz are using a technique that the tree-sitters in Berkeley used to prevent police from cutting tree-sitters out of the trees, RunningWolf said. The tree-sitters suspend themselves between trees on lines. If the lines are cut, the protesters will fall.

UC Berkeley police officials have shared experiences with police from UC Santa Cruz, said UCPD Lt. Doug Wing.

"We do share information and we have had conversations with them about what we experienced," Wing said. "We would share information with any law enforcement agency: we would talk generally of tactics and logistics about what worked and didn't work."

Wing would not elaborate on specific strategies that were shared.

Wing said officers from both departments have spent time at the respective protests when each force is overwhelmed.

RunningWolf said he hoped the protesters at Santa Cruz would stay in the trees until their demands are met.

"This is the right thing," he said. "It gets hard, it gets lonely and you think no one is watching but people are watching, so keep it up."


Contact Carol Yur at [email protected]

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