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Police Raid UC Berkeley's Occupy the Farm Site

By Zack Farmer (BCN)
Monday May 13, 2013 - 11:22:00 AM

University of California at Berkeley officials plowed thousands of plants from a tract of land they own in Albany this morning that the "Occupy The Farm" encampment planted during the weekend, a group member said. 

The Occupy activists had been there since Saturday when several dozen people marched onto the agricultural fields located near the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, part of a property they call the Gill Tract, to protest the university's plans to build a chain grocery store there. 

UC Berkeley police raided the Gill Tract at about 4 a.m. and removed the campers, organizer Lesley Haddock said. 

The campers planted thousands of plants over about an acre, Haddock said, including kale, squash, and other various vegetables and herbs. 

This raid occurred after the activists publicly announced they would leave the site later today. 

Once the campers had been cleared out, the university brought in a tractor at about 9 a.m. to remove the plants, organizer Matthew McHale said. 

"There is a sense of frustration and outrage," he said. 

Four people were arrested, including one who attempted to block the tractor, Haddock said.  

"This university is turning into a private institution and no longer holds my best interest in mind," Haddock, who is also a UC Berkeley student, said. "It really underscores they're really acting out of private interest." 

Calls to UC police have not been returned. 

Haddock says they plan to reconvene at the site at 5 p.m. to talk about what their options are.  

"This space is really important," she said. "We're not going away."