Coverage of Occupy Berkeley

Protesters crowded outside of the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue in support of the Occupy Berkeley movement.  Occupy Berkeley was created in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Jan Flatley-Feldman/File
Protesters crowded outside of the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue in support of the Occupy Berkeley movement. Occupy Berkeley was created in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

While Occupy Cal at UC Berkeley and nearby Occupy Oakland have garnered national media attention, the city of Berkeley’s Occupy movement has remained for the most part under the radar. However, Occupy Berkeley has been active for more than two months now, and its encampment — set up at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park — was filled with about 100 tents in early December. 

The encampment was issued an eviction notice that took effect Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 10 p.m. Now, a few tents remain.

This page will aggregate The Daily Californian’s coverage of Occupy Berkeley.

Follow The Daily Californian on Twitter for the latest updates as they happen.


City’s opinion of movement changed as crime levels rose

By Anjuli Sastry | 1/24/12

Occupy Berkeley is homeless.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley lies abandoned after months of being the center of controversy and strife during the Occupy Berkeley events that took place late last year.

Though the city’s Occupy movement was initially well received by Berkeley City Council members and Mayor Tom Bates when it first began last fall, the protesters’ camp was abruptly shut down in late December following escalated crime levels and citations from city staff.


Attempted rape committed at Occupy Berkeley camp Tuesday

By Sarah Burns | 12/23/11

A man associated with Occupy Berkeley allegedly attempted to rape a woman inside a tent at the encampment Tuesday.

According to a crime blotter released by the Berkeley Police Department, at about 7:28 p.m. the man entered the female victim’s tent at the encampment at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park and tried to force her to have sex with him. The woman fought the man off, fled the tent and flagged down BPD officers who were patrolling the camp, according to the blotter.

Police arrested the man on suspicion of attempted sexual assault.

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Crime at Occupy Berkeley encampment: Oct. 23 – Dec. 22

By Sarah Burns | 12/23/11

The following is a partial list of crimes reported at the Occupy Berkeley encampment between Oct. 23 and Dec. 22, provided by the Berkeley Police Department. Twenty-four of the 33 calls the department has received regarding the camp have been classified as crimes, according to Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

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Occupy Berkeley protesters remain despite eviction notice

By Adelyn Baxter | 12/22/11

Police face protesters near Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

About 15 tents remained Thursday on the lawn of Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park as the sun rose the morning after the 10 p.m. eviction notice given to Occupy Berkeley protesters took effect.

Although many of the protesters packed up their belongings to leave or relocate to another encampment outside the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue, a handful remained in the park Wednesday night despite warnings of a possible police raid.

Berkeley Police officers stand near a Berkeley city vehicle, which was used to remove some items from Occupy Berkeley.

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Occupy Berkeley protesters handed eviction notice

By Adelyn Baxter | 12/21/11

Occupy Berkeley protesters camping out in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park received an eviction notice from Berkeley city staff Tuesday night, warning that failure to comply could result in arrests.

The notice, which sets the park closure at 10 p.m. Wednesday, cites Berkeley Municipal code 6.32.020, which restricts access to city parks between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Although the city had originally decided to overlook the curfew, the notice states that anyone who remains in the park Wednesday night after curfew “will be subject to arrest for violating (the code) and their property will be removed.”

Protesters have been occupying the park in solidarity with the worldwide Occupy movement since Oct. 15, and, until Tuesday, the encampment had been met with little interference from the city.

But with the number of tents at the site increasing in recent weeks, concerns have been raised as to what percentage of the participants are actually staying in the park as a means of protest, and how many are merely using the opportunity to camp out on city property.

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City issues notice about illegal activities at Occupy Berkeley

By Soumya Karlamangla | 12/15/11

Members of Occupy Berkeley sit at a table in Martin Luther King Park in Downtown Berkeley.

The Occupy Berkeley camp at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park was issued a notice by the Berkeley city manager’s office Wednesday, saying that the city will take action if the “illegal activities and safety violations” in the park continue.

Toward the end of last month, the number of tents in the park — across the street from Berkeley High School at Allston Way and Milvia Street — jumped to about 100, and since, there has been a corresponding increase in the amount of illegal activity at the park, according to the notice.

“The situation in the park is unacceptable,” the notice reads. “The city is concerned about the health and safety of both the members of the encampment and the general public including school age children.”

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Occupy Berkeley continues but stands at ideological crossroads

By Christopher Yee | 12/9/11

Tents set up by members of Occupy Berkeley dot the grass at Martin Luther King Park in Downtown Berkeley.

Nationwide, encampments established as part of the Occupy movement have been sites of conflict and unrest, often resulting in clashes with city officials and local law enforcement.

Occupy Berkeley is an exception, though, and some say the lack of resistance to the camp’s existence from the institutions it opposes has caused it to drift away from its original purpose.

Since its inception on Oct. 8, the Berkeley camp has come to have two identities — one as a symbol of the Occupy movement’s anti-corporate ideals and another as a refuge for people desperate for food and shelter. Over the past two months, the balance between the two groups has shifted toward the second, leaving only a few campers still actively protesting.

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Concern raised over drugs, truancy at Berkeley High School due to nearby Occupy camp

Occupy Berkeley protesters setting up tents in Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park in early October.

By Weiru Fang | 12/8/11

A recent surge in the number of Occupy Berkeley protesters camping out at the park across the street from Berkeley High School has led to concerns about the accessibility of drugs and alcohol at the park for students.

Berkeley High School principal Pasquale Scuderi explained in a message to the high school community Nov. 30 that making sure students are not in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park —  a popular lunch spot for students — during class time has become more difficult because of the encampment, especially after the number of tents there increased following Thanksgiving break.

“Keeping an eye on our students is a bit more challenging in the park at present with administrators and safety staff having to visually identify BHS students amongst increased numbers of adults, young adults, college students, teenaged non-students, and almost 90 tents,” Scuderi said in the message.

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Occupy Berkeley opts-out of protest at Chase Bank, holds info session

Protesters prop up signs outside of the Chase bank on Shattuck Avenue.

By Jaehak Yu | 11/12/11

Outside Chase Bank in Downtown Berkeley Saturday morning, four men from Occupy Berkeley stood patiently, handing out fliers and making small talk with passers-by.

The men did not chant slogans condemning big banks or make any calls to action that have marked protests that are part of the Occupy movement over the last few months. But this was not, in fact, a protest — it was more of a casual informative session outside the bank.

“Today’s a reach-out day, not so much a march and a rally,” said John Holzinger, a UC Berkeley junior who is involved in the Berkeley movement.

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Occupy Berkeley plans to shut down Chase Bank Saturday

By Oksana Yurovsky | 11/8/11

Occupy Berkeley announced this week that it will attempt to shut down the downtown branch of Chase Bank on Saturday by staging a peaceful demonstration in front of the building.

Starting at 10 a.m., the group plans to block the bank’s door and ATMs as well as bar patrons from entering the bank — located at 2150 Shattuck Ave. — according to Bo-Peter Laanen, UC Berkeley junior and one of the group’s facilitators. However, they will allow employees to go in and out of the building and will not block the entrance to the nearby Downtown Berkeley BART station, he said.

He added that based on the bank’s previous reaction to protests, he thinks the employees will be allowed to go home and the branch will close.

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Community raises concern with Berkeley police, UCPD involvement in Occupy Oakland

By Sarah Burns | 10/27/11

Berkeley community members have raised concern with local police agencies’ involvement at Occupy Oakland Tuesday when police evicted demonstrators in the morning and deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bang canisters in the night.

Berkeley Police Department and UCPD, along with at least 10 other agencies, were called in Tuesday after the Oakland Police Department requested mutual aid through the Alameda County Mutual Aid Coordinator, a facilitating entity that gathers officers from numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the county.

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Occupy Berkeley protesters urge city not to take police action

Protesters affiliated with the Occupy Berkeley movement appeared at Tuesday evening's Berkeley City Council meeting.

By Nicholas Luther | 10/25/11

Fearing that their protest could suffer the same fate as Oakland’s, where clashes with police have resulted in the use of tear gas, Occupy Berkeley supporters urged the city not to take police action at the Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The four protesters who spoke during public comment asked council members to support Occupy Berkeley, whose demonstrators were issued a notice Monday night ordering them to cease camping out at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park, which they have been occupying since Oct. 15.

George Lippman, chair of city’s Peace and Justice Commission, noted that officers from the Berkeley Police Department helped officers from the Oakland Police Department evict protesters from the area in front of Oakland City Hall early Tuesday morning. According to the Oakland Tribune, more than 12 outside police agencies — including the Berkeley department and UCPD — were called in to aid Oakland police.

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Occupy Berkeley protest smaller than Occupy Oakland

By Sara Khan | 10/20/11

Although it drew hundreds to its rally and march Saturday, the Occupy Berkeley protest remains smaller than neighboring Occupy Oakland.

The protest, made up of a motley collection of a few tables and signs in the small courtyard outside the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue, is in the second week of its existence. The movement began Oct. 8, a week earlier than planned, and at its most populous has seen anywhere from 60 to 80 people in attendance, particularly at its general assembly meetings every evening at 6 p.m., according to protesters. Although protesters began simultaneously occupying Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park Saturday, only a handful have slept there every night.

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Demonstrators remain resolute in Occupy Berkeley protest

By Christopher Yee | 10/17/11

Ghostchaser, silver hair flowing from her rhinestone-adorned black cap, took long sips of her coffee while sitting among cardboard signs and sleeping bags in front of the Bank of America in Downtown Berkeley Monday morning.

She does not get much sleep anymore since she has to worry about thieves breaking in to the truck in which she lives and police forcing her to leave, but she has made her way Downtown every day for a little more than a week in order to support the Occupy Berkeley movement.

“I’ve been coming here since day one, and I’m going to keep coming as long as I can unless they put me in jail,” she said.

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Occupy Berkeley protesters march through downtown

Occupy Berkeley protesters march along streets in Downtown Berkeley Saturday.

By Besty Vincent | 10/15/11

As many as 300 people took to the sidewalks in Downtown Berkeley Saturday as part of a demonstration sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement to protest social and economic inequality and corporate greed.

Joining what Occupy Wall Street declared the worldwide “International Day of Action,” over 100 protesters gathered at around noon in front of Bank of America — at the corner of Center Street and Shattuck Avenue — to begin a march that grew to include hundreds more and filled the sidewalks of the Downtown area.

“All walks of life, all religions, people with no religions — everyone is welcome to join us,” said UC Berkeley junior Bo-Peter Laanen, one of the facilitators of the group’s daily general assembly meetings.

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Protesters wiggle fingers in air to check temperature in Occupy Berkeley movement

By Courtney Moulds | 10/12/11

Protesters at Occupy Berkeley do a "tempterature check" to vote on issues they discussed.

Take a quick glance at one of the Occupy Berkeley movement’s daily general assembly meetings and you might find yourself looking at what appears to be a group of people flashing spirit fingers.

But the protesters are not engaging in any type of cheer or dance; they are simply going about their normal process of discussing and deciding on proposals.

The group utilizes a system of hand signals as a democratic process for making decisions during meetings. The jazz hands-like movement of the fingers is the group’s way of taking a “temperature check.”

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Occupy Berkeley movement lacks numbers, leadership

By Amy Wang | 10/12/11

Occupy Berkeley protesters talk outside of the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue during their general assembly meeting Tuesday evening.

 In a space crammed with tables of food and plastic utensils, blankets and a haphazard arrangement of colorful cardboard signs, members of Occupy Berkeley are camping out — and have been for almost a week.

In front of the Bank of America building in Downtown Berkeley, protesters are joining the larger Occupy Wall Street movement that began last month, demonstrating against what they believe to be social injustice and corporate corruption in the nation.

The largely anonymous protest, which began on Oct. 8 instead of Oct. 15, as originally planned, promotes itself as a democratic, leaderless and “non-violent movement that seeks to represent the 99 percent.” But that call for 99 percent has not been answered — since Saturday, the protest in Berkeley has drawn a number of people wavering between 30 and 200.

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Protesters stage occupation outside Bank of America

Some protesters spoke outside of the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue as part of the Occupy Berkeley movement. Occupy Berkeley was created in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

By Courtney Moulds | 10/9/11

The Occupy Berkeley protest, which began Saturday, saw few protesters stay overnight outside the Bank of America in Downtown Berkeley and smaller numbers attending the daily meeting on Sunday in comparison to day one.

After deciding on Saturday afternoon to start the protest that night — rather than a week later, as originally planned — participants began the occupation outside of the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. About seven or eight people stayed for the duration of the first night, according to Berkeley resident Russell Bates, one of the participants who camped outside the bank Saturday night.

Around 40 people attended the general assembly meeting Sunday night. According to Stephen Kessler, participant and member of the Berkeley Commission on Labor, it was estimated that at one point about 300 people were present at the occupation the day before.

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Occupy Berkeley protest starts one week early

By Adelyn Baxter | 10/8/11

Over 200 participants met for the first meeting of Occupy Berkeley at noon today in Downtown Berkeley, where they voted to begin the occupation tonight rather than wait until next Saturday as they had originally planned.

Community members toting signs and flags as well as students from UC Berkeley and Berkeley City College gathered outside Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue and Center Street to show support for the Occupy Wall Street movement and decide through the democratic process how their own occupation would proceed.As of 8 p.m. Saturday, at least 15 protesters were planning to spend the night outside the bank.

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Community members plan Occupy Berkeley protest at Bank of America

By Franklin Krbechek | 10/3/11

UC Berkeley students and community members are planning a protest related to the Occupy Wall Street movement to take place Oct. 15 outside the Bank of America on Shattuck Avenue and Center Street.

Occupy Berkeley, is “connected in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street,” and organized by a largely anonymous group — which includes at least two UC Berkeley students, according to John Holzinger, a junior-transfer involved in organizing the event.

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