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Fwd: SFGate: UC Berkeley fee protest turns rowdy

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  • Justin DeCastro
    The original article can be found on SFGate.com here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2010/02/27/BA481C7Q9I.DTL ... Saturday, February 27,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2010

      The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
      Saturday, February 27, 2010 (SF Chronicle)
      UC Berkeley fee protest turns rowdy
      Kevin Fagan,Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writers

        (02-26) 12:35 PST BERKELEY -- Bay Area students, faculty and organizers
      revving up for a series of protests and rallies next week over fee
      increases and cutbacks to public education condemned the destruction and
      violence at UC Berkeley late Thursday by demonstrators promoting the March
      4th events.
        What started as a nighttime, open-air dance party in Upper Sproul Plaza
      with up to 200 people quickly soured into a riot as protesters vandalized
      a vacant university building and then lit trash cans on fire and clashed
      with police on Telegraph Avenue.
        Two people have been taken into custody in connection with the riot. More
      arrests are possible, police said.
        "This casts a shadow on the majority of our students who are working
      constructively toward budget justice," said Phil Klasky, an ethnic studies
      professor at San Francisco State University who is helping organize a
      March 4 picket and rally. "We do not condone violence in any form."
        Klasky said frustration is understandable given the increased fees
      combined with the unavailability of courses for students - but not
        The clash began at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, when police responding to
      complaints of loud music found dozens of people dancing and drinking in
      Upper Sproul, with about 30 individuals surrounding nearby Durant Hall.
        Another 10 or so people had cut the locks of the south gates of a fence
      surrounding the hall, and were inside the building dancing as they left a
      trail of graffiti and broken windows, said UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet
        Some in the group strung up a banner reading "March 4th" on the outside
      wall, a reference to Thursday's national Day of Action. In the yard out
      front, others overturned portable toilets and tossed construction
      equipment, Gilmore said. Police can't get in
        University police officers called to the scene were prevented by
      protesters from entering the building, but made no arrests as they waited
      for more officers to arrive, she said.
        Before the other officers arrived, the crowd, including those in the
      building, moved south to Telegraph Avenue to chant protest slogans and
      dance in the street.
        At around 1:30 a.m., arguments turned tense between the protesters and
      Berkeley police who were monitoring the gathering, and within 20 minutes
      some in the crowd lit a Dumpster trash receptacle on fire and shoved it
      toward officers, police said.
        That's when a full-out riot erupted. As officers pushed the crowd back so
      firefighters could get at the flaming garbage bin, protesters flung
      bottles and rocks at police, authorities said.
        A half-dozen local police agencies were called in to help contain the
      crowd, including the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the California
      Highway Patrol.
        "The crowd got out of control," said Berkeley police spokesman Officer
      Andrew Frankel. Two arrests
        The protest was finally quelled by 3:06 a.m., leaving debris and
      still-flaming trash cans all over Telegraph Avenue near the university's
      entrance, officers said.
        Cal student Marika Goodrich, 28, and former student Zachary Miller, 26,
      were arrested and booked into Berkeley City Jail on suspicion of inciting
      a riot and resisting arrest. Goodrich, held on $32,500 bail, was also
      booked for allegedly assaulting a police officer, and Miller, held on
      $22,500 bail, was booked on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
        Nobody was seriously hurt, officials said.
        The takeover of Durant Hall was the first planned building occupation
      since last semester, when students seized campus buildings at UC Berkeley,
      UC Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University. Students said they
      seized the hall - a shuttered library being turned into an administration
      building - because it symbolizes wasteful spending.
        Renovation crews who have been working on Durant arrived Friday to find
      makeshift barricades of lumber and debris left by protesters inside the
      chain-link fence, and graffiti reading "I'm pissed off," and "This is our
      university," said Joe Salow, supervisor for West Coast Construction, the
      general contractor for the renovation project.
        "Such action does incredible damage to our advocacy efforts with
      Sacramento and with the California public to preserve public higher
      education," Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said in a statement Friday. Damage
      on Telegraph
        Noah's Bagels manager Gina Tooley said a trash can in front of her store
      at Telegraph and Durant avenues was still on fire when she got to work at
      5 a.m. "I was scared," she said. "I thought someone had robbed the store."
        The store that appeared to suffer the worst damage was Subway at Telegraph
      and Bancroft Way, where several windows and glass doors were broken.
        First-year student Andrew Albright walked through Sproul Plaza Friday
      morning, where there was no visible evidence left of the night's events,
      but he had heard about the damage.
        "It's ridiculous," he said. "I think it's not a conducive way to state
      your opinion."

      Chronicle staff writer Nanette Asimov contributed to this report. E-mail
      the writers at kfagan@... and jtucker@.... ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Copyright 2010 SF Chronicle

                    JUSTIN DeCASTRO
             Live & Let Live! Love & Let Love!

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