About 10 Occupy Cal demonstrators watched as clean-up crews tore down the teepee on the lawn in front of Sproul Hall and power washed the chalk off the hall’s steps early Sunday morning.
For some participants, this signaled the end of Occupy Cal for the semester, while others planned on returning later Sunday once the cleaning ended.
“It needs to be cleaned, but we’ll be back,” said Lauren Henry, a Berkeley resident who was sleeping in the teepee when the clean-up crew started to tear it down.
Police officers came to Sproul several times Saturday to announce the cleaning, triggering an emergency tweet alert from CalOccupation stating that “Individuals sleeping on Sproul are requesting immediate help in response to police threat: ‘the university has decided this event is over.’”
After a flurry of retweets, an emergency general assembly was called Saturday evening with around 20 participants, according to Michael Smith, a Seattle resident involved in the movement.
“(The police) always say it’s the university, it’s the higher ups, or it’s the chancellor (giving orders),” said UC Berkeley sophomore Elana Eden.
A UCPD spokesperson was not available for comment.
After the general assembly, members of Occupy Cal began moving supplies and items, according to senior Adam Braman.
Around 4 a.m., police officers returned and began to reinforce the no-sleeping rule, Braman said. Protesters are not allowed to sleep on the steps of Sproul, but the rule has not been regularly enforced, according to Eden.
At about 7:20 a.m., cleaning crews began taking down signs, posters and artwork and using a power hose to spray the chalk and paint, Braman said.
A sign across Sproul Hall pillars stating “Welcome to the Open University” was the only physical reminder of Occupy Cal left around 9:00 a.m.
By 11 a.m., the word “love” had been written in chalk on Sproul Hall pillars and a cardboard heart, two chairs, a few flowers and a sign were left on the steps.
Another general assembly is planned for Monday to discuss the immediate future of Occupy Cal, according to Eden.
“It might be smart to just shut down tonight, especially since there will be even less support now because it’s finals week, but I can still see a bunch of people not wanting to give up this yet,” Braman said. “I can see a lot of people wanting us to end Occupy on our own terms.”