ANARCHY DAY 10: Occupy…Farms???

Posted: May 10, 2012 in Anarchists & Communists
UC Berkeley sues over Occupy the Farm protest in Albany

Demian  Bulwa  San Francisco ChronicleMay 10, 2012 04:00 AM

Occupy the Farm activists, one with a gas mask on her hip, work in a tomato plot  at the Gill Tract in Albany, a UC Berkeley agricultural research site

A standoff between UC Berkeley and Occupy activists who planted renegade  crops on university land is headed from the farm to the courts.

The University of California Board of Regents filed a lawsuit Wednesday  against 14 protesters, claiming they and others conspired to cut through chains  that secured gates and trespass onto the Gill Tract, a patch of land along  bustling San Pablo Avenue in Albany.

The activists, who call themselves Occupy the Farm, moved onto the tract  April 22. They are pressuring the university to preserve part of the tract,  which has been the subject of development debates for years, for agricultural  study and urban farming.

The protesters tilled 2 acres on a site used by the College  of Natural Resources for research. They planted vegetables, set up a drip system  and pitched tents. Ever since, the two sides have been trading demands.

When UC turned off the water, the protesters began hauling in 30-gallon  tanks. On Wednesday, the university put in concrete barricades to cut off  vehicle traffic, so demonstrators began bringing in water by the jug.

Police officers were on hand and read a statement warning people not to  interfere with them, but they did not prevent activists from coming and  going.

With the lawsuit, UC is trying to ratchet up the pressure further. The civil  action, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, seeks a restraining order and an  injunction against the pitchfork protesters, with violations punishable by up to  six months in jail.

The suit says that a 24-hour-a-day encampment is not consistent with  agricultural experiments, and that the demonstrators are delaying an annual corn  planting.

“We’re happy to have a conversation about both the short- and long-term  future of the Gill Tract,” said Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesman. “But that  conversation must include members of the Albany community who have been involved  with us in a collaborative planning process for more than eight years.”

A UC master plan adopted in 2004 called for the land to be used for  recreational and open space if the university halts agricultural research,  Mogulof said.

One of the protesters named in the lawsuit, UC Berkeley alumna Anya  Kamenskaya, gave a reporter a tour of the property Wednesday. Beyond signs  reading, “Resistance is fertile” and “Free the land,” activists had set up a  kitchen tent, brought in five portable bathrooms and arranged a “youth  educational garden.”

The interlopers took away chickens they had brought to the land Wednesday  morning, fearing they would be seized in a police sweep.

Demian Bulwa is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.  Twitter: @demianbulwa.

This article appeared on page C – 2 of the  San Francisco Chronicle


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s