Occupy Updates: Extreme Police Violence in Berkeley, With Calls for a Strike; Harvard Protesters Shut Out of Harvard Yard
A few Occupy stories for today:
--The big news is the violent police clash that took place yesterday at Occupy Berkeley. In the below video, you can clearly see police officers in riot gear (Salon's Justin Elliot identifies them as UC Berkeley police) hitting the protesters with batons and bean bag guns. The violence started after Berkeley students tried to set up tents on the school's campus following a 3,000-person rally at the school. Police tore down the tents and arrested seven occupiers during the clash.
In response, the occupiers have agreed to call for a strike and day of action on November 15. Via the action's Facebook event page:
After a mass rally and march of over 3,000 people, and repeated police assaults on the encampment, the Occupy Cal general assembly decided -- with over 500 votes, 95% of the assembly -- to organize and call for a strike and day of action on Tuesday, November 15 in all sectors of higher education. We will strike in opposition to the cuts to public education, university privatization, and the indebting of our generation.
We also call for simultaneous solidarity actions in workplaces and k-12 schools. We will organize through daily, 5pm strike planning meetings at our encampments, followed by general assemblies.
--Across the country, students from another university -- Harvard -- faced a show-down with security over access to Harvard Yard. After a 350-person protest against the university's complicity with growing income inequality, university police and security guards effectively shut down Harvard Yard. The Crimson reports:
Around 7 p.m., protesters were met with increased security that would prevent Boston residents who were not Harvard affiliates from entering the Yard.
“I think it’s absurd. Do we really need eight guards per gate?” said Nicandro G. L. Iannacci ’13, who has participated in other Occupy events. “The idea that the only people allowed here to have this conversation are members of the Harvard community, specifically, is wrong. Why not welcome more people in?”
In response to the limited access to the Yard, demonstrators relocated to the Harvard Law School campus. As they marched past freshman dorms, they chanted, “Out of your rooms and into the Yard,” rallying the students in the dorms to join.
After a general assembly, protesters left the Law School campus and tried to re-enter the Yard to set up a tent city, but Securitas guards prevented demonstrators from entering by locking the gates.
In a tense exchange, students tried to push their way into the Yard—some holding up their Harvard IDs—while guards pushed back to prevent protesters from breaking through the gates.
--In New York, Mayor Bloomberg is being wishy-washy about where he stands on OWS. In the past he's talked about evicting protesters, but on Morning Joeyesterday his stance was essentially "ehhh?" His quote, via Runnin' Scared:
It's a whole bunch of people that are just disinf-disaffected. They don't know what's wrong. They say, 'we don't know what we want but we want it now,' which I think is as good a way of saying it as anything. That it's not their job to solve the problems, it's the job of the government and the press and those of us that have some insight on how policies affect people.
It's hardly an endorsement, and you can bet he still dislikes the protesters being in Zuccotti Park. But he's trying to put on a semi-happy face for the national press now, which may be kind of telling.