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‘Occupy The Farm’ Protesters Refuse To Leave UC Berkeley Land Tract

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Occupy The Farm, Gill Tract, Berkeley, Albany

Occupy protesters at an encampment on a tract of land on the Berkeley-Albany border, April 23, 2012. (CBS)

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ALBANY (CBS/AP) – Occupy activists who broke locks and set up an encampment on University of California, Berkeley agricultural research land in Albany have refused to leave.

About 200 of the Occupy squatters broke into the 10-acre Gill Tract property on April 22 and set up camp. They planted carrot, broccoli and corn seedlings on part of the land to protest planned housing and commercial development nearby the site at Marin and San Pablo avenues.

UC Berkeley officials were quoted as saying that the protesters have disrupted agricultural research by faculty scientists and students in the College of Natural Resources.

The protesters missed a weekend deadline to reach a departure agreement. The university proposes dismantling the encampment in exchange for discussions about using part of the property for urban farming.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

As of Sunday, university officials said they were still waiting for a response. Because student and faculty researchers need to regain access to the property by mid-May in order to conduct their work, if protestors do not agree to leave the university will take action “to ensure the research activities are not impeded and the rule of law is maintained,” the statement said.

“We did not get a response as we hoped and expected last night, so we’re disappointed,” university spokesman Dan Mogulof said Sunday. “At this point we’ll need to evaluate other options to ensure that research can go forward.”

Occupy the Farm group member Gopal Dayaneni said early Sunday morning that the group had contacted the university through its attorney saying it wanted to meet again Monday to have further conversations.

“We don’t want a raid, we don’t want police action,” Dayaneni said. “It’s not an appropriate way to resolve the situation.”

“It won’t end well for them regardless,” Dayaneni added. “We’re very committed to seeing the vision of the farm preserved and we have an enormous amount of community support, both in the immediate communities and in the wider area.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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