Occupy Cal assembly decides not to camp overnight

Occupy Cal protesters participate in Thursday evening's general assembly.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff/File
Occupy Cal protesters participate in Thursday evening's general assembly.

After discussing issues from police brutality and racism to procedures for making proposals at future meetings, Occupy Cal protesters voted Thursday evening not to camp with tents in Sproul Plaza that night.

Eighty-six protesters voted against setting up tents, 20 voted for the proposal and 21 abstained.

The Occupy Cal movement began yesterday at a noontime rally that fused themes from the global Occupy movement with protests against cuts to public higher education. The rally was occasionally violent, and 39 people were arrested over the course of Wednesday’s rally.

Leading up to the vote, the assembly heard from a number of speakers on various topics concerning the Occupy Cal movement.

Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab said the Graduate Assembly does not endorse the email Chancellor Robert Birgeneau sent out this afternoon, which condemned some actions by protesters Wednesday night.

“We do not believe that linking of arms is violent civil disobedience,” Navab said, as the assembly of about 200 cheered in approval. “We believe this email blames the victims.”

Protesters also sought to establish guidelines for making proposals to the general assembly at later meetings, ultimately deciding that anyone would be allowed to make a proposal as long as it was endorsed by three other people and brought to a facilitator — or protest organizer — by 3 p.m. on the day of the assembly.

The focus of discussion changed to police brutality and racism when one speaker claimed that a black man was “singled out and beaten severely by at least four officers” at Wednesday’s protest.

Student organizer and UC Berkeley junior Marco Amaral told the crowd “people of color have been part of the 99 percent since 1492.”

As the discussion of racism and police brutality progressed, some protesters began to chant, “Fuck the police.”

Protesters then began to discuss the demands of the movement. Geography graduate student Eli Marienthal called for the resignation of Birgeneau, saying “someone must be held accountable for the violence last night.”

While the proposal that Birgeneau’s resignation be included in the protester’s demands seemed to earn the support of about half of the protesters, it fell short of the 80 percent requirement for approval.