This week, the Occupy movement drew thousands of California college students to protests on at least 10 campuses, including UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, where police forcibly removed students and arrested 39 people. We get a report from John Hamilton, who reports for KPFA. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to the Occupy movement drawing thousands of California college students to protest on at least 10 campuses, including UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Berkeley, where police forcibly removed students and arrested 39 people. We turn to this report from KPFA’s John Hamilton.
MARIO SAVIO: So here we are. Four students are getting the axe…
JOHN HAMILTON: UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza first drew national attention in 1964, when thousands of students struggled for their right to free speech on campus. They were led by student activist Mario Savio.
MARIO SAVIO: There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part.
JOHN HAMILTON: Nearly a half-century later, a strikingly similar scene played out Wednesday between students and faculty, on one hand, and the university and its police, on the other. On a statewide day of action in support of public education, thousands of UC Berkeley students flooded Sproul Plaza. Dozens were beaten back by police after they tried to erect a tent encampment, like those of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Shannon Ikebe is a graduate student in Berkeley’s Sociology Department.
SHANNON IKEBE: We gathered at Sproul Hall over there to set up a camp. And many activists from the Public Education Coalition had tents, and we decided to establish a couple of tents there.
JOHN HAMILTON: Julie Klinger is a Berkeley graduate student.
JULIE KLINGER: We were organized by the General Assembly to get into groups to talk about what we might do, what we might not do. But we resolved, as a community, to be nonviolent, to maintain and abide by the principles of civil disobedience that have a long and beautiful history in this country, going back to the civil rights movement and far beyond that. So what we did is we formed what you might call a soft bloc. We stood together, we linked arms, and we prepared for the police to approach to take down the tents.
POLICE OFFICER: This is an unlawful assembly. In the name of the people of the state of California, we demand all those at this location to immediately disperse.
STUDENT PROTESTER: We’re trying to stick up for this country, the state and the school.
AMY GOODMAN: That piece by KPFA’s John Hamilton in the Bay Area. If you would like to see the whole piece, you can go to our website at democracynow.org.