Strikers Forced to Move Away From California Hall

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The 18 hunger strikers who have been camped outside California Hall since last Monday took down their tents and left this morning after being told by campus officials they would be arrested if they stayed.

The strikers and their supporters emptied their jugs of water and loaded their supplies onto UCPD trucks at around 6 a.m. after being told by campus officials they would be arrested if they did not leave the lawn in front of the building.

"This morning the university decided that you know, it's time," said UCPD Lt. Alex Yao.

Yao said the strikers and their supporters had been in violation of campus rules and regulations by lodging and violating campus curfew. Both can be punishable by arrest, he said.

The strikers chose to leave the lawn. Though strikers said they do not know where they will relocate, they will not stop fasting.

"We are going to continue," said senior Horacio Corona, who has gone without food for a week.

Though the strikers' belongings were moved by UCPD to Eshleman Hall, by 8 a.m. the protesters had gathered again in front of California Hall.

Ten more students and staff had joined the strikers in a "Solidarity Strike." Marco Amaral, a freshman striker, said the coalition will hold rallies at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in front of the building.

The strikers are demanding Chancellor Robert Birgeneau publicly denounce a recent Arizona immigration law, make UC Berkeley a sanctuary campus and provide extended protections for undocumented students, drop all student conduct charges against activists, stop cuts to low-wage employees, suspend conduct procedures and initiate a democratic, student-led process to review the code, as well as commit to using nonviolent means to ensure safety at demonstrations.

Though the campus administration has produced three responses to the demands and have met with members of the coalition, the strikers said they will remain outside until they meet with Birgeneau.

According to Claire Holmes, associate vice chancellor of public affairs, two of the demands - regarding the rehiring of low-wage employees and the dismissal of student conduct charges - had not been settled.

Holmes said the strikers had spoken Sunday with Birgeneau and were unlikely to meet again until the hunger strike ended.

"I wouldn't rule (a meeting) out, but I doubt it very much," she said. "We have done everything we can to respond to them. We would like to continue the dialogue, but we really want them to end their hunger strike."


Javier Panzar is the news editor, Contact him at [email protected]

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