Protesters, UCPD Clash Over Fliers

Photo: Chalk-wielding activists took to campus Friday in protest of police response during and after the UC Board of Regents meeting last week.
Shirin Ghaffary/Photo
Chalk-wielding activists took to campus Friday in protest of police response during and after the UC Board of Regents meeting last week.

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Protesters "Beautify" the UC Berkeley Campus

On November 19th, protesters marched around campus to make their mark against police brutality and fee hikes.

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Chalk and posters in hand, about 40 protesters marched through UC Berkeley early Friday afternoon drawing graffiti on multiple campus buildings and storefronts while police monitored the scene, reflecting heightened tension between the two entities following the events of last week's UC Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco.

The activists, some of whom also posted fliers - some satirical - on Thursday, protested in response to the approved 8 percent fee increase and controversial incidents outside the meeting, including the use of pepper spray and an officer's drawing of a pistol, leading to allegations of police brutality. Although no direct action was taken by the approximately 30 police officers present throughout the day, several protesters expressed discontent with police response to events earlier in the week.

The most visible confrontation took place on Nov. 18, when two activists were detained and released by UCPD for posting fliers in undesignated areas and another activist - whose case was transferred to the Center for Student Conduct and Community Standards - was charged with a rules violation after posting and throwing fliers on the ground outside of California Hall, according to UCPD Lt. Alex Yao, a spokesperson for the department.

Although the activists were detained on a legal basis according to the Code of Student Conduct, protesters on Nov. 19 said they witnessed police "pulling" posters in designated areas, according to Callie Maidhof, a UC Berkeley doctoral student and student organizer.

Yao - who did not confirm whether UCPD officers actually removed posters and fliers, some of which read "PAY YOUR FEES OR I'LL SHOOT YOU" and depicted a picture of the officer pointing his gun at protesters outside the regents' meeting - said that officers have the right to detain individuals when they are in violation of campus codes, whether or not they are associated with the protest.

"We do not selectively enforce rules and regulations and law," he said.

ASUC External Affairs Vice President Ricardo Gomez - who was arrested during the Nov. 17 demonstration at UCSF - said in an e-mail that fliers associated with the protest were targeted by UCPD in an act of silencing free speech.

"UCPD have been tearing down flyers since last year," he said in the e-mail. "The difference here is the magnitude of the targeting that UCPD and the brazenness of their repression as well as the willingness for students to assert their rights."

According to Maidhof, the bigger issue surrounding fliers on campus is the limited space for students to voice and post their concerns.

In a similar response to the regents meeting, five protesters at UC Irvine were detained on Nov. 17 for illegal pamphleting and chalking on the exterior of the Student Center, according to UCIPD Sgt. Steve Monsanto. All five protesters were released, and their cases may be referred to the Dean of Student Office for review, Monsanto said.


Contact Yousur Alhlou at [email protected]

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