Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, held a “Sleepover Protest” at Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín’s home Tuesday to bring attention to City Council’s climate commitments.
DxE is a grassroots organization consisting of animal rights activists globally, according to the DxE website. Its mission is to achieve social and political change for animal rights in one human generation.
The protest was held in response to the council’s “lack of ambition” in addressing DxE’s complaints, according to Almira Tanner, DxE lead organizer. Tanner alleged that the resolution being introduced in the coming week does not effectively meet DxE’s demands.
According to Tanner, the resolution reduces the use of animal products by 50% by 2024, a proposal that Tanner said is “a slow transition.”
“The reason why we are escalating is because we are not okay with the current proposal that is being introduced on the 27th,” Tanner said. “It fails to live up to the commitments the mayor made and fails to address the animal crisis. We are hoping the increased protest will make the resolution an ordinance.”
The protest planned to start in front of Arreguín’s home at 6 p.m. with protesters chanting demands and making noise, according to Tanner. Throughout the night, organizers and protesters would participate in a plant-based barbeque dinner and watch movies. The following morning, protesters planned to march toward City Hall to continue their efforts.
DxE representatives sent postcards and letters about their concerns, but were allegedly ignored, Tanner noted.
The message that they wished to send with this week’s protest was about urgency and accountability.
“It’s really disappointing that the City Council is failing to take the action that is needed,” Tanner said. “It makes a lot of statements about wanting to address the climate crisis, but they’re not doing anything and doing very little to address animal agriculture.”
City Councilmember Rigel Robinson noted that DxE is allegedly the organization that had shut down a city vaccination site earlier in the year.
He added that Arreguín has “more important” business to focus on.
“Direct Action Everywhere is a fundamentally unserious organization,” Robinson alleged in an email.
Arreguín told The Daily Californian in June that protests such as the one staged by DxE outside of his home are “disruptive.”
He added that such actions are not productive in furthering good relations between the organization and City Council.
“The fact remains that the city has made a commitment to transitioning to plant based, a stated goal of the City Council,” Arreguín said in an email sent in June in response to DxE’s June protest outside his home. “For those who support this, stay tuned.”