UCPD arrests 4 protesters after Occupy the Farm raid

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UCPD arrested four protesters on Monday following an early morning raid on the Occupy the Farm encampment on university-owned land in Albany.

Around 4:30 a.m., UCPD issued a 10-minute warning to the protesters — who had been occupying and farming a southern portion of a university property, known as the Gill Tract, since Saturday afternoon — to vacate the property or face arrest.

One protester, a UC Berkeley affiliate, was arrested for trespassing and resisting an officer, according to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada. Tejada said the protester was registered in the student directory but could not confirm whether this person is an active student.

The rest of the protesters moved off of the land willingly, and the university allowed the protesters to keep coming back to the land to collect their belongings, according to Claire Holmes, campus associate vice chancellor for public affairs.

Around 9:20 a.m., a tractor was brought in to remove the crops occupiers planted over the weekend, and two more individuals were arrested for trespassing and refusing to follow police orders. A fourth person was arrested around 10 a.m, Tejada said.

Occupy the Farm made a public announcement Sunday morning that they planned to break down their tents early Monday morning and continue to farm throughout the day, said Occupy the Farm spokesperson Matthew McHale.

“The UC’s use of police intervention was completely unnecessary and unreasonable, especially after we publicly declared we were leaving later today,” McHale said.

University officials took action this morning because they wanted to choose a time when they felt they could vacate the lot as safely as possible and with the least amount of disruption to the community, Holmes said.

Currently, Occupy the Farm protesters are in close proximity to the property and have called for a public reconvergence at 5 p.m. to decide what to do next, said  Lesley Haddock, a demonstrator and a UC Berkeley junior.

According to Holmes, police are still near the tract to monitor the situation, and there will be police present throughout the day.

Contact Megan Messerly at [email protected]

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