Update: Protest Shooter has photos.
More than a year ago, I told you about the property rights violators in Berkeley who’ve been living in trees on the UC campus to protest scheduled renovations and development. The trees aren’t endangered species or old-growth. University officials plan on replacing them three to one. No matter. The tree squatters broke the law, anyway. And campus police haven’t had the guts to kick them out.
A Berkeley reader e-mails that action is finally being taken this morning:
Hi Michelle: Thought you’d like to know that UC Berkeley Police are in the process of evicting the tree sitters near Memorial Stadium. They have the whole area around the Stadium closed off and are lowering staff into the trees using a large crane. They’re trying to get the people out first and then take down the structures.
Another eyewitness account: “This is happening right outside the building that I work in. Haha, it’s pretty hilarious, actually. Most of the people who were watching this happen were cheering the police. One guy started booing all the hippies. Some old hippie lady and some old guy got in his face with flurry of F-words. He just laughed in their faces. I’m guessing he’s one of the physical plant employees here at the university. Most of his buddies were there, laughing too. This is good news for all of us Cal Football fans. ”
Sounds like quite a scene. Keep a lookout on YouTube for the video. Instant comedy classics in the making. The Daily Californian reports that the moonbats are pouring crap on the officers. Par for the course:
The tree-sit that has been going on for more than 18 months in the oak grove near Memorial Stadium may have reached its end now that UCPD officers are attempting to take the sitters out.
In the latest of several developments, an arborist harnessed on the end of a crane was mobilized onto one of the trees. There, he attempted to cut down a structure in the tree when a tree-sitter began hitting him with a plastic bottle. The arborist was pulled out of the tree by the crane, but since then he has continued to cut other structures.
Estimated to be eight to 12 in number, none of the sitters have been removed from the trees, but arborists have cut down several of their supplies and structures. Two cherry pickers carrying police officers are also on the site. The officers have cut some of the structures and ropes that the sitters use to travel between the trees.
About 100 onlookers watching the scene from Piedmont Avenue, while several tree-sit supporters on the ground are yelling to people in passing cars.
At least 20 UCPD officers in hard hats are currently at the scene. Beginning at approximately 6 a.m., they erected a third barrier around the oak grove that blocks pedestrians from using the sidewalk on the west side of Piedmont.
Some of the tree-sitters could be heard yelling from the trees while several of them have poured excrements down to UCPD officers below.
KTVU has TV coverage:
Over the last year, the protesters have constructed an elaborate system of platforms, rope bridges and pulleys in the trees while police have made dozens of arrests and issued 200 citations.
Meanwhile, university officials won the right in court in November to remove the protesters, but haven’t decided how to do it.
Under the court order, protesters can be jailed for five days and fined up to $1,000. While the protesters can be removed, another court hearing is underway trying to decide if construction can actually begin.
“I don’t think a year ago that anyone could’ve predicted it would’ve lasted this long,” said UC-Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. “And it’s really regrettable that it has. It’s cost us a lot of resources, a lot of manpower.”
School officials said the protest has cost the school nearly $370,000 for security staffing and for fencing to limit access to the grove.
Cal also hired outside archaeologists to disprove the tree-sitters’ claims that the grove is a sacred Indian burial ground.