BERKELEY (KPIX) – Student occupiers at an encampment in historic People’s Park were in a battle with University of California at Berkeley over who is responsible for a spate recent attacks and vandalism.
The students say that despite the apparent support, they had nothing to do with it.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Girl Dead, Woman Wounded in Friday-Evening Shooting in San Francisco
“We’re peaceful,” said Occupier Brandon Mendoza. “We’re peaceful in how we engage with the residents, with community members. We’re here to deescalate situations.”
By occupying an area in People’s Park the group is trying to prevent the University from building student housing. U.C. Police say seven homes of staff connected with that proposed project were attacked and vandalized on the same night.
Police say the attacks are serious and include broken vehicle windows, slashed tires, a brick thrown through the window of a home and highly threatening hateful spray painted graffiti.READ MORE: Belmont Police Search for Missing Woman and Her 3-Year-Old Son
Mendoza said the occupiers learned about the attacks from the media.
“Yeah, we had nothing to do with that and we have nobody who was doing anything regarding the vandalism,” he said.
Others occupiers, like Ryan Smith condemn the violence but are not surprised.
“I don’t believe it,” Smith said. “I think it’s people trying to tie it to us because they can but U.C. Capital Strategies and U.C. have a lot of enemies in the ecological community because they are very bad stewards of the land.”MORE NEWS: Grass Fire That Burned 15 Acres on Altamont Pass Slows Traffic for Hours
U.C. Berkeley has been trying to develop the land at People’s Park for decades. The latest proposal is a 16-story building housing 1,200 students.