Thursday, December 22, 2011

Occupy Berkeley: Last Camp Standing

Chris De Benedetti, Oakland Tribune (;
"The people united will never be defeated." Occupy Oakland supported UC Berkeley strike. Pushed off campus, more tents bloomed in the park (Rashad Sisemore/

BERKELEY, California - About 25 tents and a few dozen bleary-eyed campers remained Thursday morning at the OCCUPY BERKELEY encampment at Civic Center Park, hours after police and campers clashed.

The confrontation started late Wednesday night after officers served notice that campers -- who numbered more than 100 staying in about 60 tents -- would be arrested and their belongings confiscated if they did not leave by 10:00 pm.

Campers said police drove onto the park grounds late Wednesday night in patrol cars and began confiscating tents. Some left while others stayed and confronted officers, campers said.

"The police have been rolling by here for a few days in marked and unmarked cars," said Mike, a 31-year-old Berkeley man who declined to give his last name. "I stayed to protect my family, my Occupy family."

Eric Westcott was part of a group that left and set up camp outside Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue. He returned Thursday morning at the encampment next to Martin Luther King Jr. Way, between Allston Way and Center Street.

At dawn, all that remained there resembled the aftermath of a battle, as the park's ample lawn was littered with food, wrinkled clothes, apple crates, debris, and tents -- some of which were torn and frayed.

"The police showed up, the chaos happened, and we're left to sift through the rubble," he said. More

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