Cal suspends development at Folks’s Park on account of ‘violence’

UC Berkeley announced Wednesday afternoon that it is suspending construction that began this morning on a student housing project in People’s Park due to “destruction of construction materials, illegal protest activity and violence.”

Riot-ready police descended on a block of land just off Telegraph Avenue before sunrise to clear a small homeless encampment and cordon off the area. As soon as the sun came up, a work crew appeared on the site, brought construction equipment and cut down trees.

Wednesday, 2022 On August 3, a worker felled a tree at People’s Park in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

“Right now they are cutting trees in the park with chainsaws,” said Ramon Mendoza, who is involved in the park’s preservation movement. Video posted Twitter 9:36 showed the woodwork in progress.

CHRON published video at 9:23 a.m. of protesters blocking construction trucks “to prevent them from clearing trees.”

As the day progressed, more protesters descended on the area, tearing down the fence and flooding the park.

Wednesday, 2022  On August 3, protesters attempt to topple a fence at People's Park in Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, 2022 On August 3, protesters attempt to topple a fence at People’s Park in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

UC Berkeley said several arrests were made, but could not provide details on the numbers and charges as of 2 p.m.


Defend People’s Park group. said early this morning that there were several forklifts, large moving vehicles and picket trucks in the park before sunrise.

“They are throwing away residents’ belongings,” the group wrote Twitter.

The university said in a statement that when work began this morning, there were two or three people who had not lived in the park and had been “previously offered shelter, repeatedly advised that the park would be closed soon, and advised that there were overnight campers in the park.” not allowed.”

“Once the park was closed last night, everyone was once again offered alternative shelter, transportation, and storage — an offer that remains available to anyone who needs it and wants it,” the university said.

Wednesday, 2022  On August 3, people keep contractors and their tree-cutting equipment out of People's Park in Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, 2022 On August 3, people keep contractors and their tree-cutting equipment out of People’s Park in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that UC Berkeley can begin construction on A 16-storey building which will house more than 1,100 students.

Activists and student groups stood aside to protest the park’s closure. They have long contested the campus project and called for the site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to be public green space.

Wednesday, 2022  Heavy machinery pushes a redwood tree in People's Park in Berkeley, California on August 3.

Wednesday, 2022 Heavy machinery pushes a redwood tree in People’s Park in Berkeley, California on August 3.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

Located in the heart of the Bay Area’s expensive and notoriously tight real estate market, UC Berkeley faces a shortage of student housing; Based on 2017 survey, it has “the lowest percentage of student beds of any campus in the UC system.” The survey also found that 10% of respondents self-identified as having experienced homelessness while attending UC Berkeley.

In addition to student housing, the People’s Park housing complex could provide up to 125 apartments, offering supportive housing with local services for homeless and low-income residents, as well as landscaped open spaces.

Wednesday, 2022  On August 3, protesters sit on top of a building in People's Park in Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, 2022 On August 3, protesters sit on top of a building in People’s Park in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

“More than 60% of the 2.8-acre site will be preserved as open space and revitalized into an updated park space that will enhance the site’s history,” the university said. said. The site will also include a “commemoration of the park’s past and historical significance.”

The university’s plans also include providing temporary housing for people living in the People’s Park, providing services to help them transition to permanent housing, Website dedicated to the project, they say.

This is a developing story and details will be added as they become available.

Wednesday, 2022  A lone protester sits on the last standing redwood tree in People's Park in Berkeley, California, on August 3.

Wednesday, 2022 A lone protester sits on the last standing redwood tree in People’s Park in Berkeley, California, on August 3.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

Wednesday, 2022  On August 3, police monitor an entrance that contractors previously used to enter a cordoned-off area at People's Park in Berkeley, California.

Wednesday, 2022 On August 3, police monitor an entrance that contractors previously used to enter a cordoned-off area at People’s Park in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

A sign announcing

in 2022 A sign reading “53 Years of Resistance” is seen in People’s Park on Wednesday, August 3, in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

in 2022  A man shakes his finger at the California Highway Patrol during a protest in Berkeley, California, Wednesday, Aug. 3.

in 2022 A man shakes his finger at the California Highway Patrol during a protest in Berkeley, California, Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

in 2022  An arrested protester is led away by police during a protest on Wednesday, August 3, in Berkeley, California.

in 2022 An arrested protester is led away by police during a protest on Wednesday, August 3, in Berkeley, California.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

Protesters talk to each other as California Highway Patrol officers in 2022  protest at People's Park in Berkeley, California on Wednesday, August 3.

Protesters talk to each other as California Highway Patrol officers in 2022 protest at People’s Park in Berkeley, California on Wednesday, August 3.

Jungho Kim / Special to SFGATE

Leave a Comment