Berkeley Protesters Rebuild Shantytown on Campus Site
Anti-apartheid demonstrators re-erected their symbolic shantytown on the UC Berkeley campus Wednesday, vowing to occupy it through the night and prevent campus police from dismantling it again.
About 800 protesters against the university’s investments in companies doing business in South Africa marched from Sproul Plaza to reconstruct the makeshift shacks of plywood, cloth and cardboard against the front of California Hall, which houses the chancellor’s office.
About 100 staff members were cleared from the building at 3 p.m. when the campus fire marshal decided that the shacks constituted a fire hazard.
The shantytown is symbolic of conditions in which blacks live under apartheid in South Africa, according to the protesters.
When campus officers removed the first shantytown about 2 a.m. Tuesday, they arrested 61 of the demonstrators, 21 of whom were identified by the university as students.
Wednesday’s rally became tense at one point when officers spotted a man suspected of rolling a trash dumpster toward police during the Tuesday confrontation and took him into custody. Dozens of demonstrators surrounded the four arresting officers as they dragged the suspect into Sproul Hall. Witnesses said there was some spitting and throwing of oranges.
The man was charged in a warrant with assaulting police officers and assault with a deadly weapon--the trash dumpster.
The university asked Alameda County Superior Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the blocking or occupying of university buildings by three student groups who organized Wednesday’s rally. They were the United People of Color, the Campaign Against Apartheid and the UC Divestment Coalition.