UC Berkeley Gaza war protesters arrested for occupying vacant building

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

BERKELEY, Calif. – Officers have arrested at least 12 Gaza war protesters on Thursday, who took over a vacant building near UC Berkeley’s campus one day earlier, university officials say. 

Campus police and outside law enforcement agencies responded to Anna Head Hall on Thursday to clear the building. The university-owned building is off campus. Several others, who occupied the building, were forcibly removed. 

In a statement late Thursday, UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said, “All of those who were outside the building were given dispersal orders and the opportunity to leave the site voluntarily.”

The group first took over the building on Wednesday. The university said between 10 and 20 people had occupied it that day. Authorities have not confirmed how many protesters were inside on Thursday.

The university confirmed the group is different from the protesters who established an encampment near Sproul Plaza weeks ago. That encampment was dismantled after a deal was reached with university administrators.

Mogulof said no injuries were reported and that they will have more information on Friday about the charges as well as the “suspects'” affiliation status. 

There was also an encampment on the lawn of Anna Head complex, located at 2538 Channing Way, where protesters had erected barricades.

Video footage from the ground on Thursday showed crews dismantling the encampment outside the vacant building that had been spray-painted with red graffiti.

As the night wore on, the crowd of protesters swelled to around 250 people near what would be the entrance to People’s Park. 

Mogulof characterized the building’s occupation as a “crime scene.” 

The demonstrators said they would not speak directly to the media when asked to explain their message or what group they represent. Instead, they said they would put out any comments on their People’s Park Instagram page.

Neighbors said they are concerned about safety issues but don’t want to see an escalation with police targeting this group of protesters, whether they are students or community members.

“We want to hear what the people protesting have to say and not accept that distinction,” said Eddie Yuen, a Berkeley resident.

“They’re not bothering anybody, but I don’t think they should be there in that particular area,” said Marc Sutker of Berkeley. “They can protest all they want. I have no problem with that. I’m more concerned with that being a fire hazard.”

The university said the building is not safe due to the fire from a few years back and it has since been boarded up.

Near People’s Park, several garbage and recycling bins were strewn about in the streets until police cleared them from the area. Large planters were toppled. Some protesters threw rocks and banged their skateboards on shipping containers that officials erected at the People’s Park entrance. The historic park is slated to become UC Berkeley student housing

More than a dozen law enforcement agencies from the Bay Area responded to these protests, including police officers from various UCs, California OES law branch, Oakland Police Department, California Highway Patrol, San Francisco Sheriff’s Department and San Francisco Police Department, among others. 

KTVU’s Jana Katsuyama and Bailey O’Carrol contributed to this report. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.