Solidarity with ALL arrested in Berkeley!

December 12, 2009

While some following the UC unrest are are lamenting the attack against the Chancellor’s mansion, few have offered alternatives to hold him accountable for repeatedly ordering officers to assault and arrest his students. We, however, applaud all actions that students, individuals, mobs, friends, and just regular fucking people take against those that mobilize the violence of the state. The fury and vengeance of those outside the chancellor’s mansion was born through the actions of the police and chancellor themselves; they are now seeing their progeny.

From Yaman Salahi’s letter to UC Faculty following the November Wheeler occupation:

What started as aggressive and unjustified provocation by UCPD was soon supplemented by the vicious behavior of officers from Berkeley Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff. As students peaceably assembled in support of those occupying Wheeler Hall, Chancellor Birgeneau ordered or approved the deployment of hundreds of police brandishing their batons to beat the spirit of ownership out of them.

Chancellor Birgeneau characterizes the role and presence of armed and aggressive police officers that engaged in violence against students on this campus as positive and necessary in resolving the situation. When I arrived on campus early in the morning as a supportive alumnus, two UCPD officers attempted to ram a metal barricade through a crowd of students I was in — without announcement, notice, or even a chance to move out of the way. Students had no choice but to push back in self defense to prevent injury to themselves and their peers. Yet Chancellor Birgeneau says that the situation “ended peacefully,” and thanked the police for their allegedly positive role.

On at least two later occasions students at the front of barricade lines were threatened with batons thrust into their chests, stomachs, shoulders, and backs. Berkeley Police Department officers once again violently confronted students, placing barricades on police lines. Their blows rained down on the students at the front line, who had absolutely no opportunity to follow police instructions to move because the crowds were too thick. Apparently the officers did not care about this fact or did not understand it because they struck student after student, marks on whose bodies are still apparent today — even as Chancellor Birgeneau announces the situation “ended peacefully.”

A graduate student’s fingers were maliciously destroyed by an officer who struck her with a baton for placing her hand on the barricade. She requires reconstructive surgery, as after the beating her fingers were left hanging by a thread of flesh. And yet Chancellor Birgeneau claims that the student protests ended “peacefully.”

At least one undergraduate student was shot by an officer with an unidentified projectile. There is a mark on his stomach today, but Chancellor Birgeneau claims that the student protests ended “peacefully.”

I saw one camera man threatened by a police officer who screamed: “if you’re close enough that my baton can hit you, I will hit you!” And yet Chancellor Birgeneau says that the police “did very well under difficult circumstances” and that the situation ended “peacefully.”

“These are criminals, not activists. The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives. The people involved in this action will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
-Chairman Birgeneau

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