Demonstrators call for charges against Nov. 9 protesters to be dropped

Levy Yun/Staff
Levy Yun/Staff

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About 50 people gathered outside of California Hall at noon Monday to protest criminal charges filed by the district attorney’s office against protesters active in the Nov. 9 protests.

Protesters marched in a circle holding banners and chanting in unison, calling for the dissolution of the charges and hoping for support from the UC Berkeley administration.

“The silence from California Hall has been deafening,” said integrative biology professor Robert Dudley, who was sitting on the grass in front of the hall.

UC Berkeley students Ricardo Gomez, Zakary Habash and Ramon Quintero and associate English professor Celeste Langan face several charges, including resisting arrest and remaining at the scene of a riot, according to county criminal dockets.

Langan said four additional protesters have been charged but not arrested, including BAMN national organizer Yvette Felarca and three UC Berkeley graduate students — Amanda Armstrong, Jasper Bernes and Shane Boyle.

Additionally, UC Berkeley faculty members have posted an online petition calling for Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to request that the district attorney drop all charges against the campus protesters.  In a campuswide email last November, Birgeneau announced that the campus would be “granting amnesty from action under the Student Code of Conduct to all Berkeley students who were arrested and cited solely for attempting to block the police.”

UCPD was able to identify the additional protesters not arrested by reviewing videos that were posted online, according to UCPD Lt. Eric Tejada. He added that the evidence was then presented to the district attorney’s office, which determined that there was enough evidence to proceed forward with the case and file charges.

“What the case is about is failing to comply with an officer, or interfering with an officer, or assaulting an officer,” he said.

Gomez, one of those facing criminal charges, said that protests in front of California Hall will continue for the remainder of the week, or until Birgeneau releases a direct statement to the District Attorney’s office requesting all criminal charges against students be dropped. Protests are scheduled to take place at noon until Friday.

Staff writers Damian Ortellado and Amruta Trivedi contributed to this report.