UC Berkeley protesters arrested during Day of Action

SF State grad student Michael V. is arrested by police officers during a protest at Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, Mar. 2. Police arrested Michael and other protesters for trespassing. Eric Soracco / staff photographer

Approximately 12 UC Berkeley students were arrested Tuesday night after occupying Benjamin Ide Wheeler Hall in protest of proposed budget cuts to higher education.

The crowd separated into three groups at 9:30 p.m. to discuss the possible consequences of intentionally trespassing onto the lobby.

More and more police officers began to arrive as the students gathered and started to play live music and pressure began to build.

Some students held signs in opposition to the budget cuts, while others handed out yellow Copwatch pocket guides to explain the process of being detained and what rights one has when placed in such intimidating situations.

Michael, a SF State comparative literature graduate student who did not want to disclose his last name, believes that trespassing is a far less deceitful offense than crimes being committed against students.

“I think it is really important that we are here,” he said. “The fact that they can charge for education is a crime in it self. We are the poor. If the poor can’t get education, then no one deserves education.”

Police refused to give comment and began making arrests at roughly 10 p.m. once Wheeler Hall was officially closed to the public.

Those that did not want to get arrested left the hall, but stood outside the doors screaming in unison, “Pigs get out” and “No justice, no peace. Peace in the Middle East” in support of the 12 protesters who remained inside the building.

At one point, several female protesters were pushed by police officers and struggled with them to keep the doors open. However, the police quickly took control and stood in front of every entrance of the hall, helmets on and nightsticks in hand.

At the same time, the 12 protesters remaining inside lied down in a closed circle and locked their arms and legs in solidarity until police started dragged each of them, one by one, into custody.