BERKELEY (KPIX) — The struggle over the way forward for Individuals’s Park in Berkeley continues as a gaggle attempting to protect the park filed a lawsuit in opposition to the College of California on Thursday to dam building of a scholar housing challenge.
There are dozens of protesters nonetheless occupying Individuals’s Park saying they’re dedicated to staying for so long as it takes to dam a scholar housing challenge.
Aidan Hill, who makes use of they/them pronouns, says they’re serving to to facilitate the encampment by organizing meals drop-offs and medical provides.
“There is a distinction between a homeless encampment and a political protest encampment. We’re right here as a result of we need to save the park. That is our main focus. It is not as a result of we do not have wherever else to go. It is as a result of Individuals’s Park is our residence,” Hill mentioned.
The newest points round Individuals’s Park began early Wednesday morning when building started on a brand new housing complicated slated for the location. The challenge would offer housing for 1,100 college students and 125 low-income residents.
Shortly after building began, protesters started dealing with off with police, pulling down fences and damaging building tools.
A spokesperson for UC Berkeley mentioned the college was pressured to cease the challenge quickly due to the protection dangers however does nonetheless plan to maneuver ahead with building.
The query now could be how and when to take away the protesters from the park.
“What occurs at Individuals’s Park goes to impact the neighborhood round it,” mentioned Berkeley mayor Jesse Arreguin.
After the clashes with police Wednesday, Mayor Arreguin, known as for a gathering Thursday asking town council to rethink town’s ban on utilizing tear fuel for crowd management however the mayor mentioned he then reconsidered.
“Our police had requested that we take into account suspending this coverage so we may get these mutual support sources coming to Berkeley. I nonetheless consider that utilizing tear fuel in regulation enforcement conditions is flawed. These are weapons of conflict,” Mayor Arreguin mentioned.
Since Berkeley prohibits officers from utilizing tear fuel, it limits bringing in extra officers to assist with crowd management. The mayor particularly known as out the Alameda County Sheriff’s Workplace on Thursday saying that, due to the ban on tear fuel, the sheriff’s workplace wouldn’t present mutual support.
Alameda County sheriff Greg Ahern mentioned that was by no means the case and, so long as he is been the sheriff, the division has by no means rejected a request for mutual support.
“Some businesses is not going to reply if you happen to’re not going to permit tear fuel to be deployed if tear fuel is required to disperse the group,” mentioned sheriff Ahern. He went on to say the deputies practice for crowd management with tear fuel. He mentioned it is used as a step throughout drive escalation earlier than deputies transfer to less-lethal rounds like bean luggage or rubber bullets. He mentioned it could be a menace to officer security for them to attempt to do crowd management with out the instruments they’ve educated with.
“My company wouldn’t be capable of reply to help in crowd management, if you happen to’re not going to permit us to make use of these instruments. Nevertheless we’d help by offering transportation, reserving,” Ahern mentioned.
Within the meantime, a UC Berkeley spokesperson mentioned the college continues to be assessing choices for the best way to deal with the scenario at Individuals’s Park however emphasised the housing continues to be desperately wanted.