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Occupy Holds Small Anniversary Protest at Berkeley

By Steven Finacom
Friday November 16, 2012 - 10:24:00 AM
Steven Finacom
Steven Finacom
Steven Finacom

Occupy Cal visibly resurfaced on the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday, November 15, 2012 with a small encampment intended to mark the one year anniversary of the mass rally and protest that marked the high point of the campus Occupy Movement.  

Occupiers had also rallied at the Regents meeting at UC San Francisco earlier on Thursday. On Thursday evening there were two tents on Sproul Plaza--one on the main plaza, and the other on the steps of Sproul Hall--as well as a number of banners--including a large "Welcome to the Open University" banner--signs, and protesters. The signs Thursday night were incongreuously juxtaposed with "Cal Philanthropy Day" banners and signs that had been put in place to encourage students to become alumni donors to the University. 

On Friday morning before 8:00 am, as I headed for work, there were three tents in a cluster and two protesters visible, one holding a heart shaped sign in the periodic rain. They said that the University police had given them the "usual admonishments" last night about overnight lodging on University grounds, and protesters had taken down most of the banners and signs. 

They expressed disappointment that that large numbers of people hadn't turned out but determination to continue with Occupy Cal actions during this academic year. The current tents will not remain up, but one further symbolic protest may be organized this semester, they said. Next semester, the focus will be on educating the campus community about "continued privatization" of the institution, including the agreement that brought money to the University from BP (formerly British Petroleum) to fund biofuel research. 

By 9:45, when I passed through Sproul Plaza on a brief break, the three tents and the Occupy protestors were gone. I don't know if they had been asked to leave, or had voluntarily packed up the encampment after the one year anniversary commemoration.