Small Protest Precedes Wednesday Regents' Meeting

Photo: Protesters attempted to block entrance to California Hall early Tuesday morning, though police had already barricaded one entrance to prevent obstruction by the demonstrators.
Michael Restrepo/Staff
Protesters attempted to block entrance to California Hall early Tuesday morning, though police had already barricaded one entrance to prevent obstruction by the demonstrators.

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As a prelude to Wednesday's planned protests to be staged during the UC Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco, a small protest was held at UC Berkeley throughout Tuesday morning and afternoon, which included efforts to shut down a campus administrative building.

About 40 protesters first gathered with banners and signs at the east entrance of California Hall at around 6:40 a.m. Tuesday morning in an attempt to block the building's entrances and prevent administrative staff from reaching their offices.

But officers from both UCPD and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office had already surrounded the building by 6:30 a.m. and set up a barricade by the building's west entrance to prevent protesters from blocking that side. Throughout the morning, police were able to escort administrators to and from the building past protesters holding banners with messages including "Hey administrators: join us/resign."

"My impression is that there is a great deal of apathy on campus, especially among the undergrads," said UC Berkeley doctoral candidate Sam England. "I hope to see more people join us today, seeing as this is kind of a low turnout."

The demonstration at California Hall grew to about 60 protesters before dying out by noon. Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said he received no reports of disruptions caused by the morning's protests at the hall.

New protesters joined some of the morning demonstrators at the wall of photographed students' faces outside of Dwinelle Hall at about 12:30 p.m. Officers forbade protesters from covering the wall with banners depicting students holding messages criticizing the proposed UC systemwide 8 percent fee increase and the financial strains it would entail. After arguing with police, students proceeded to hang the banners at 1:08 p.m. - as police officers observed - and used a microphone and speakers to communicate with passersby.

Michal Karmi, a UC Berkeley junior, said she did not know about the demonstration before seeing the banners Tuesday, but ended up leading onlookers in chants of "No cuts, no fees, education must be free." Like many of the day's protesters, she said she plans to participate in today's rally during the regents' meeting.

"You want to be effective? Go to the regents' meeting and stop it," Karmi said.

Around 1:30 p.m., an officer instructed the protesters to turn off the microphone to prevent disrupting classes in nearby buildings. Several protesters remained at the wall to sign up onlooking students for bus rides to the regents' meeting.

Contact Jeffrey Butterfield at [email protected]

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