UCPD from across California arrived in several police and chartered vans today, just after 6am. UCPD then gave a ten minute dispersal order, before Dear Ocean View Parents: I want to thank our families for getting students to school on time today. Despite the presence of helicopters and TV crews, school started as usual. UC Berkeley Administration has been in communication with the School District, and has assured us that it will make no decisions that would impact our school day. I will do my best to keep you informed of any new developments.moving in;. Several people have been arrested, including lead organizers for the Farm Project. Farmers have coalesced around the gates and fence to maintain a watch over the farm.
Several things are notable about the police action. Teachers, administrators and parents at the local elementary school had pleaded with police to conduct any actions outside of school hours or when ever students might be present. Despite this, police dispersal orders were given just an hour or so before parents would be bringing children along the Jackson St. side of the Tract. Those orders included the threat of use of tear gas, again less than a hundred yards from the entrance of the school. Evidently, police could have raided at any time this weekend. Its possible they chose a Monday, because they believed community support would be at a minimum.
Early on, Farmers identified multiple shield designations; police from around the UC system and as far as Los Angeles were mobilized for the action. On a more curious note, I’ve noticed that police are using the walkway areas of the cultivated rows, not trampling indiscriminately; I think that’s a powerful testament to what was built here and a hopeful sign for future actions.
This is far from over. I think all farmers believe that. One thing people can do to support is to come to the farm and stay on Marin or Jackson side, to keep an eye on the cultivation in the main farm, and in the children’s village.
Organizers have called for a reconvergence meeting at the Albany Community Center on Marin Ave. at 5pm on Tuesday.
Update: Anyone who has been to the farm knows that the property is literally only a few hundred feet from the school grounds and classrooms. Not surprisingly, parents were concerned about the lumbering, blind, poison-spraying and violent beast known as UCPD engaging in a quasi military operation just a stone’s throw away. Despite these concerns, UC has continued to misinform the school about its intentions. A letter to the parents, sent last week at the beginning of police escalation:
Dear Ocean View Parents:
I want to thank our families for getting students to school on time today. Despite the presence of helicopters and TV crews, school started as usual. UC Berkeley Administration has been in communication with the School District, and has assured us that it will make no decisions that would impact our school day. I will do my best to keep you informed of any new developments.
As of noon, cultivated areas remain intact, although all the other structures have been dozed and hoed. I yelled across the way to a bulldozer operator across the way in front of the Lady Bug garden, and he told me that there were no plans to demolish the cultivated areas there today, but thought that there would be tomorrow. I’m not sure about any of this, obviously. Updates as they come in
All of the cultivated areas remain up at this point, though related structures have been taken down by bulldozer and backhoe. Earlier on twitter, I noted two “surveyors” taking various measurements around the cultivated area. I happened to be on the Jackson St. gate as they were coming out and hovered close by to see what was going on.
A UCPD officer gurgled out propaganda regurgitate; how much damage did they do? Heard they hurt a deer; don’t worry, they’re gone now. “Surveyor” responded: “they didn’t do any damage; that deer has been hurt for years, we call him tripod; oh they’ll come back at first possible moment. I followed her out and tried to talk to her politely, and she politely refused, telling me she wasn’t allowed to. She did tell me that we would probably consider the outcome “good news” for what it was worth.
On the way back, I talked to the cop again to find out if she was a researcher, using the reverse-interrogation technique I learned from Black Widow in the Avengers movie. Which is surprisingly effective; he told me she was one of the researchers almost immediately.