BERKELEY (CBS SF) – Police in riot gear raided the Occupy Cal encampment early Thursday morning, arresting two protesters and removing about 20 tents from the UC Berkeley campus.
Police surrounded about 40 demonstrators camped in Sproul Plaza around 3:30 a.m. and gave them 10 minutes to gather their belongings and leave.
KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:
Ian Watson said he and most of the other protesters decided to leave voluntarily. “Many people peacefully removed their tent at the insistence of the Police Department,” he said.
The two protesters who refused to leave were cited for illegal camping and unlawful assembly, said Lt. Alex Yao, a spokesman for the UC Berkeley Police Department.
They have been identified as 24-year-old Alex Kim, an English major, and 24-year-old Mike Porter. Porter identified himself as a member of Occupy Oakland.
The encampment went up on Tuesday night in defiance of a campus ban on camping.
UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university has a policy against allowing camping on campus, but police didn’t act immediately to remove the tents that were set up Tuesday
Mogulof said university officials and police monitored the situation and waited for a time when they thought it would be safe and effective to remove the tents.
He said they decided that 3:30 a.m. Thursday would be a good time to take action, and he said the removal of the tents was “very peaceful” and there weren’t any confrontations.
Occupy Cal protesters were given hourly warnings by police that the encampment was illegal and they were subject to arrest, Mogulof said.
The protesters were given time to take down their tents, Mogulof said. They also were given time to take away two pianos that they had set up on the steps of Sproul Hall for music sessions, he said.
University staff members cleaned the steps of Sproul Hall after the tents were removed, according to Mogulof.
He said about a dozen protesters remained in the area as of early Thursday afternoon.
A speaker at the protesters’ general assembly Tuesday night said there would be more general assemblies at Sproul Plaza at 6 p.m. every night.
University officials waited to remove the encampment because much of the police department’s resources had been diverted to investigate a fatal officer-involved shooting inside the Haas School of Business, according to a campus spokesman.
The peaceful removal of the tents overnight contrasted sharply with the raid a week earlier that resulted in six arrests and the injury of several protesters.
“The crowd was very, very peaceful and they were compliant to police officers’ lawful commands to vacate,” Yao said.
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