“Some of the protesters climbed onto the bulldozers that remained near a basketball court in the park.”
This conflict has been going on for months. Back in March, the California Supreme Court sided with neighborhood activists.
CBS News reports:
Protesters halt construction on controversial UC Berkeley housing project after tense police standoff
A group of protesters broke through an eight-foot chain fence erected Wednesday around Berkeley’s historic People’s Park and faced off with police officers standing guard as a construction crew began work on a controversial student housing project. The work was halted for safety reasons.
The park was cleared overnight Tuesday and the fencing was put up the following day after an Alameda County Superior Court judge on Friday ruled that the University of California, Berkeley — the site’s owner — could move forward with its housing plan despite local groups suing to stop it.
By the early afternoon, parts of the fence had been cut down by protesters, prompting small celebrations of vindication inside the park. Some of the protesters remained on site after the university said it decided to stop construction for the day “due to the destruction of construction materials, unlawful protest activity, and violence on the part of some protesters.” Some of the protesters climbed onto the bulldozers that remained near a basketball court in the park.
In a statement, the university said it plans to assess the situation during the next few days to determine the best way to proceed with “urgently needed student housing project.” The university plans to build a complex that would accommodate about 1,100 students as well as 125 formerly homeless people. Part of the park will be set aside to commemorate its historic significance in the civil rights movement.
The protests harked back to the spring of 1969 when community organizers banded together to turn a site that the state and university seized under eminent domain, and turned into a gathering space now known as People’s Park. After the university erected a fence around the park, protesters sought to reclaim it, triggering bloody battles that resulted in police shooting and killing one man and wounding dozens of others. That May 15, 1969 uprising, known as “Bloody Thursday,” triggered even more protests and then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan summoned the National Guard to occupy Berkeley, located about 12 miles east of San Francisco.
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