UC Berkeley strike and Day of Action swells to more than a thousand

Gracie Malley/Staff
Gracie Malley/Staff

UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza became packed with more than a thousand protesters Tuesday around 1 p.m., as the crowd attending the campus strike and Day of Action in solidarity with the Occupy movement continued to swell.

The crowd steadily grew in size as students from the UC Berkeley School of Law marched onto the Sproul steps and students walking from class joined the protesters. Rather than having a series of speeches on the Sproul steps as is customary at noon rallies on the plaza, the protesters listened to a few short messages from protest organizers before beginning to listen to a student choir and attending various teach-outs.

Protest organizers including UC Berkeley junior Marco Amaral, campus graduate student and head steward for United Auto Workers Local 2865 Amanda Armstrong and senior Ricardo Gomez used the “human microphone” system to encourage protesters to continue attending the day’s events, stating that the rally was only the beginning of the Day of Action.

“What we see today and what we feel today is our creative power,” Armstrong said. “This is the return of the repressed, and it is beautiful.”

The UC Berkeley Gospel Choir began its performance after the organizers spoke, encouraging protesters to take a seat on the Sproul steps and clap along to songs adapted for the Occupy movement.

Meanwhile, groups including the East Bay Solidarity Network and the American Studies Undergraduate Alliance held teach-outs in the plaza on topics from Proposition 13 to workers’ rights.

The police violence which marked Nov. 9’s Occupy Cal protest has so far been absent from Tuesday’s demonstration.

“We are assessing the situation throughout the day,” said campus Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and University Communications Claire Holmes. “Our highest objective is that we do not repeat the events of last week, so we are taking it on an hour-to-hour basis and supporting the students that are out there as well as faculty and staff.”

Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri said that though it is difficult to speculate what will happen tonight, he has been in touch with student government leaders regarding the protest.

Events planned for later today include a 2 p.m. rally on Sproul Plaza where UC Berkeley students, faculty and workers will address police use of force to quell protests, a 2:30 p.m. march, a 5 p.m. general assembly organizing meeting and an 8 p.m. lecture by UC Berkeley public policy professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

Alisha Azevedo is the lead academics and administration reporter.

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  • Xingona1

    UC Berkeley has 25,000 students. I know, I graduated from there. This is what they look like. 

  • Robertnicholson

    May be true democracy will be established and the voice of average people will be heard once again. We can only hope this will kick start a return to a fairer system for all.

    • “True democracy” = mob rule. That’s why the Founding Fathers of this country gave us a constitutional republic, to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

      • guest

        How about protecting the rights of the majority from the tyranny of the minority?

  • John Shoptaw

    The Occupied Cal Journal also says “we will set up our encampment” at 5pm

  • Guest

    How many of them are actually students at Cal?
    If this is anything like Occupy Oakland, less than 20%.

    • guest

      who are you? shut up. 

    • mf

      If the number of people I know who are registered (graduate!) students who have gone to the gathering is any indication—it’s a large number—then probably a lot more than you are suggesting.

    • I am an employee at Cal… I’ve been going to these assemblies and can attest these are all students here. I can’t believe this is even a question on the table. Haha.