UC Berkeley police bust up hunger strike encampment

MEDIA ADVISORY
For immediate release,
May 10, 2010

UC Berkeley Police forcefully take down hunger strike encampment as Chancellor returns from trip to Europe

After 170 hours without food, strikers vow to continue until demands met

When: Now, Monday May 10th
Where: California Hall on UC Berkeley Campus
Visuals: dozens of supporters, hunger strikers forced dispersal of encampment.

BERKELEY, CA— At 6am UC Police arrived at the site of the 7 day-old  hunger strike with an order to disperse the encampment or face arrest.

This all comes as UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who has been traveling in Europe during the duration of the strike, returns today to face the strikers for the first time. Many had criticized the Chancellor for not returning earlier to work to resolve the situation, though it appears the administration’s techniques have taken a more forceful turn as with the Chancellor’s return. Hunger strikers, visibly weak after fasting for over 170 hours, are currently struggling to take down the camp.

“They say they’re doing this for our health and for the good of the students” says Marco Amaral, a freshman who is one of the organizers of the strike. “But if Chancellor Birgeneau really cared about the health of the students he wouldn’t be forcing those on the strike to leave in this manner. If the Chancellor truly cared about the students and workers of this campus he would meet our demands and end the strike.”

Students, workers, and community supporters have been protesting on the front lawn of California Hall since last Monday. The 19 individuals on the hunger strike have demands of denouncing racist legislation in Arizona, creating a sanctuary campus and ending retaliation against student and worker activists (see next page for complete demands).

“Our demands are very reasonable and the Chancellor could meet them at any time”, continued Amaral. “We are not ending this strike until they are all met. The Chancellor needs to decide if he’s going to stand with the students, workers, faculty and supporters at the Berkeley campus, and the people of California, or if he’s going to stand with the racists who are passing these laws in Arizona and perpetuating violence against people of color”.

A rally has been planned today at 3:30pm to increase the pressure on the administration. In addition, regularly scheduled demonstrations each day with an 11am mass and prayer service and a 7pm rally.

For up-to-date information on the hunger strike visit our Facebook page at
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=114079228632152

The demands to end the hunger strike are:

1. Publically denounce Arizona’s SB1070 Law and ask President Yudof and other UC Chancellors to do the same.  We urge you to bring this up at tomorrow’s UC system-wide meeting with other Chancellors.  Blatantly racist and xenophobic laws run counter to the values of the UC education system.

2. Make UC Berkeley a Sanctuary Campus and provide extensive protection for undocumented students.

3. Drop all student conduct charges related to protest actions that occurred during the academic year 2009-10.

4. Stop cuts to low-wage workers on campus and stop attacks against union activists; rehire all AFSCME service workers and UPTE union activists and Cal performances employees.

5. Suspend the Student code of conduct and initiate a democratic student-led process to review the code. Those participating in this process should be charged with attending particularly to concerns about students’ due process rights and to free speech considerations. If, through this review, it is determined that a new code can be written in any way that adequately addresses these concerns, a new code should be written by a democratic, student-led body. If not, the student code of conduct should be abolished.

6. Accept responsibility for the violence and escalation of the confrontation surrounding Wheeler Hall on November 20th and December 11th 2009 that resulted in injuries to many students and jeopardized the safety and security of AB540 students. Additionally, commit to using non-violent means of ensuring safety at student demonstrations in the future.

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About nodiplomacy

nodiplomacy is a graduate student in some department thinking critically about race, gender, and current systems of oppression.
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