Live Blog: Day of Action

Benny Grush/Staff
Protesters march towards Tolman Hall.

Thursday marks the first organized day of protest against fee hikes for the current academic year. Organizers, including Ricardo Gomez, who along with Amanda Armstrong wrote an op-ed for The Daily Californian Tuesday explaining their position and goals, met Tuesday to discuss their demands, which include a reversal of recent systemwide fee increases and access to the UC for undocumented students. An official rally is planned for noon on Sproul Plaza. Check here for updates throughout the day.

Alisha Azevedo, Sara Khan, Curan Mehra, J.D. Morris, Aaida Samad and Jaehak Yu of The Daily Californian reporting from the field.

10:36 p.m.

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode confirmed two were arrested during today’s protests.

A police officer apprehends a demonstrator in Tolman Hall, where the Day of Action protesters occupied a room. The protest was propelled by persisting state budget cuts to the UC and accompanying tuition increases.

Eugene W. Lau/Staff

9:44 p.m.

The protesters have decided to disperse and reconvene tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Tolman Hall.

Update to follow.

9:32 p.m.

A group of about 40 protesters are now walking across campus towards Moffitt Undergraduate Library with seven police trailing behind them.

9:22 p.m.

Protesters are now outside Tolman Hall and regrouping to discuss what action to take next while some chant “No cuts, no fees, education must be free.”

9:14 p.m.

The protesters — who threw rocks and bottles at police officers — have decided to disperse. Police have asked the protesters to file orderly outside the building.

9:10 p.m.

UCPD and protesters are scuffling near the entrance to Tolman Hall. One protester has been detained and carried away by police officers while other officers in riot gear stand by.

A protester is restrained by police following an altercation at the doors of Tolman Hall.

Kevin Foote/Staff

8:59 p.m.

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said the protester arrested was the protester who assaulted a police officer earlier in the day.

8:04 p.m.

One protester has been arrested.

While the protesters were in their meeting, shouting was heard from the hallway. The group of protesters exited the classroom and went into the hallway where the protester was being arrested.

UCPD said they could not disclose why the man was arrested because “it was his personal business” and there was scuffling between protesters and police. The identity of the man arrested was not disclosed.

7:54 p.m.

The Daily Californian reporters have been asked to leave the room while protesters discuss next steps and are currently waiting for the protesters to hold a press conference to announce their plans.

Read this for an update on the use police of pepper spray.

4:27 p.m.

Protesters voted to make a cameraman from ABC leave the room — despite objections from a group of protesters including UC Berkeley student and organizer Marco Amaral, who wanted the cameraman to stay in order to document the proceedings.

After making the cameraman leave, the protesters blocked a NBC cameraman’s entrance to the room.

Protesters have since decided to take a 45 minute break from the proceedings.

An ABC cameraman and a protester clash over media presence at Tolman Hall.

Eugene W. Lau/Staff

3:51 p.m.

The UC Berkeley administration has made a statement regarding the protests inside Tolman Hall.

“Police are there just monitoring the situation for now,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore. “We do expect (the protestors) to leave the building when the building closes later tonight. We’ll continue to reach out to them to bring this to a close without any incident.”

She added that the campus shares “the students’ frustrations over the state’s disinvestment in higher education and we support their right to protest.”

3:48 p.m.

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode has confirmed the use of pepper spray against protesters.

When protesters were trying to enter Tolman Hall, a group pinned two officers against a wall, according to DeCoulode. The officers were forced to use pepper spray to defend themselves, he said.

DeCoulode also said that a dispersal order is not imminent.

Protesters and police clash at Tolman Hall.

3:07 p.m.

Protesters are still inside Tolman Hall, mostly concentrated in one classroom.

UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said that UCPD officers are “just monitoring (the situation) right now.”

Read a summary of the day’s events so far here.

2:22 p.m.

The protesters, still inside Tolman Hall, have opened discussions on issues ranging from tuition hikes and budget cuts to access to the UC for undocumented students.

Protesters ate pizza while they occupied a classroom in Tolman Hall.

Derek Remsburg/Staff

“I think the budget cuts are the worst thing ever,” said freshman Sam Heinz. “It’s terrible to think politicians would undercut students before taking other measures.”

Hannah Smith, a UC Berkeley junior, said that previous experiences at other schools made her want to come to UC Berkeley.

“I came to Berkeley expecting my voice to be heard but there’s no cooperative notion in our education system,” she said.

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore declined to comment on the protest at this point in time.

1:43 p.m.

The protesters are spreading out through the hall, chanting “Who pays for it? We pay for it.” The protesters are entering classrooms, which have been closed in the building since it was deemed seismically unsafe.

Protesters and police stand in a classroom in Tolman Hall.

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

1:31 p.m.

The crowd, now numbering approximately 100 protesters, is inside Tolman Hall. UCPD officers, who had had an altercation with protesters as they entered the building, are inside the building as well.

Protesters stand inside Tolman Hall.

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

1:20 p.m.

The march is now trying to enter Tolman Hall. Police officers are trying to stop people from entering the building as the protesters shout at police, “Shame on you.”

Protesters and police clash in front of Tolman Hall.

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

1:11 p.m.

The march has moved on from California Hall and is now moving towards the western part of campus. More than 200 people are in the march, which is now near Hilgard Hall on campus.

Protesters march across campus before entering Tolman Hall.

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

1:05 p.m.

The march has stopped in front of California Hall, which holds Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s office.

1:03 p.m.

After the Sather Tower clock chimed one o’clock, a group of protesters started moving out of the plaza chanting “The people united will never be divided” and “No cuts, no fees, education must be free” as it moved towards Memorial Glade. The crowd is being shadowed by police.

Protesters line up with signs on Sproul Plaza before marching to Tolman Hall.

Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

1:00 p.m.

Molly Noble, a graduate student from the University of Wisconsin which has also experienced budget cuts, talked about her experience in Wisconsin and how it transcended state borders.

“In the first days of the occupation (in Wisconsin), there was a tangible momentum growing,” she said. “This a social, economic and political movement… we have the power to reclaim our social, political and economic rights.

Then Andrea Barrera, the last speaker, described the plight of her family to illustrate the difficulties she now faces.

“I’m here on behalf of my 65 year old mother who can’t retire because she has to help pay my tuition semester to semester and on behalf of my little brother and sister whose chances of going to college or even graduating high school are getting narrower and narrower,” she said. “The people in charge have no idea what they’re doing.”

12:45 p.m.

The crowd observed a moment of silence for Troy Davis, a Georgia man executed last night.

Then, Gabriel Cortez, an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley, told the protesters “to protest like this is the death of public education and you are dressed for a revival.”

12:35 p.m.

Walker said that the university must “stop playing the market game,” in reference to paying large salaries to certain professors or administrators in order to retain them in the face of competition from other institutions.

“It is not the market that sets our priorities,” Walker added. “If administrators and faculty don’t believe in serving the public and being the greatest university on earth, let them go. We don’t need them.”

Students and members of the public stand on Upper Sproul Plaza during the rally.

Kevin Foote/Staff

12:30 p.m.

Professor of geography and Berkeley Faculty Association member Richard Walker said public higher education is at a turning point.

“Public education is an investment in the youth and the future,” he said. “The state of California has been systematically disinvesting and now it’s hit home. Nothing else is going on but disinvestment in this university.”

12:26 p.m.

Jason Schultz, a librarian at UC Berkeley and member of the UC-American Federation of Teachers, called on the demonstrators gathered to make a change.

“In the libraries, we’ve had all these cuts, we’re not equipped to do our jobs,” he said . “Something’s got to give… we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for folks.”

12:22 p.m.

Protesters holding signs with slogans including “No cuts, no fees,” “Democratize the Regents” and “You can’t be efficient with my education” are now standing on the steps of Sproul Plaza.

“The cite the economic crisis … (but) we know that it’s just a part of the story,” said Katy Fox-Hodess, a UC Berkeley graduate student and head steward for United Auto Workers Local 2865. “We know that tuition has been rising before the crisis began. The crisis a convenient excuse to shift the economic burden onto the most vulnerable.”

Approximately 300 people have gathered in the plaza now.

12:13 p.m.

The rally has started, with the first speaker beginning to talk.

AFSCME Local 3299 member Kathryn Lybarger, a gardener at UC Berkeley, said she will run for public office to insist on change.

“What we are seeing is a continuation of a long term trend of the poor getting poorer and the rich getting richer,” she said.

12:05 p.m.

Protesters have begun to set up speakers on the steps leading up to Sproul Hall as some students start to gather.

Protest organizers senior Andrea Barrera and graduate student Shane Boyle  said they hope for a large turnout.

“We’d like 500 to 1,000 students to really be a success,” Boyle said.

According to University Professional and Technical Employees Local 1 President Tanya Smith, the protesters intend to march several routes after the rally in Upper Sproul Plaza ends.

The rally is supposed to begin in two minutes, according to organizers.

Signs were written in chalk across campus referring to the September 22nd rally. This one is on Lower Sproul Plaza.

 Kevin Foote/Staff