Police have broken through a line of protesters on the University of California at Berkeley campus this afternoon and are taking down a half-dozen tents set up by the demonstrators. At least one protester has been arrested. The tents had been erected on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall after a noon rally and march to protest tuition and fee increases for university students and funding cuts to all levels of public education.
The demonstration is intended to be in the style of “Occupy Wall Street,” “Occupy Oakland” and similar protests, and participants planned to
set up an encampment that would stand for at least a day. The protesters had set up the tents on the lawn after a 1:30 p.m. general assembly, and had linked arms and formed a circle around the tents to prevent police from removing the small encampment.
However, around 3:40 p.m., dozens of police in riot gear pushed their way through the human chain using their batons and began taking the tents down. There were scuffles between the officers and protesters, and the crowd began chanting, “Stop beating students.” Before police moved in, UC Berkeley police Lt. Eric Tejada reminded the demonstrators that camping is illegal there. “Remove your tents now,” he said.
On Monday, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau sent a letter to students, faculty and staff saying that while the university supports the principles behind the Occupy Wall Street movement, camping will not be allowed on campus. “Any activities such as pulling fire alarms, occupying buildings, setting up encampments, graffiti, or other destructive actions that disrupt with anyone’s ability to conduct regular activities — go to class, study, carry out their research, etc. — will not be tolerated,” the letter stated.
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