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Court docket order halts UC Berkeley building at Individuals’s Park possible till October

People's Park gathering on August 3th
Protesters collect at Individuals’s Park on Aug. four to debate stopping UC Berkeley from beginning building on the website. Credit score: Ximena Natera, Berkeleyside/CatchLight

Two eventful days after UC Berkeley tried to start building on a controversial scholar housing mission at Individuals’s Park, a state appellate court docket permitted a keep order halting all building and modifications till October.

Decide Teri Jackson signed the keep order Thursday to permit the court docket to overview an attraction petition by Make UC a Good Neighbor and the Individuals’s Park Historic Advocacy Group on their unique California Environmental High quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit.

It’s one other growth in a court docket case by the plaintiffs, who appealed the case (once more) after an Alameda County decide shot down their argument on July 29.

The appeals court docket had granted the plaintiffs one other keep order in early July that prevented any building on the park all through the month. UC Berkeley started building virtually instantly when that safety expired, rolling building crews onto the positioning at midnight on Wednesday to the opposition of protesters.

Within the 12-hour stand-off that ensued, protesters mobilized in the midst of the evening, sat in entrance of building crews blocking building gear, tore down fences and compelled UC Berkeley to withdraw a whole lot of mutual assist regulation enforcement officers and building crews out of concern for his or her security.

UC spokesperson Kyle Gibson stated in an announcement Friday that the college is disenchanted by the court docket’s determination, however is assured in its authorized place concerning CEQA.

The court docket order permits Cal to maintain fences up on the property, however prevents any additional demolition, building, tree chopping or alterations to the positioning.

“Whereas this new injunction will add additional delay and important extra prices to the mission, we’re happy the court docket has agreed to an expedited course of,” Gibson stated. “We’re additionally glad with the court docket’s determination to permit the campus to shut and safe the development website pending the expedited ruling.”

UC Berkeley had already halted building as a consequence of ‘security issues’

Regulation enforcement presence at Individuals’s Park on Aug. 3, earlier than UC Berkeley determined to halt building briefly on the website. Credit score: Ximena Natera, Berkeleyside/CatchLight

On Wednesday morning, UC Berkeley police reported that protesters threw “rocks, bottles, and glass” at crews working on the park. Protesters spray-painted and broken equipment and tore down fences on the website.

Authorities arrested seven folks on suspicion of battery of a police officer, trespassing, resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer, in line with Gibson.

Because it proceeds with its plans, UC Berkeley says it’s prioritizing the protection of building crews and everybody within the space. Gibson stated “the campus is now assessing choices to get that performed in a secure, efficient approach” and that it’ll “discover all possible choices to make up for misplaced time.”

Cal plans to construct a scholar housing complicated on the website with 1,100 beds for college kids and an extra 100 reasonably priced models for mixed-income ranges by way of a partnership with Sources for Group Improvement.

“Whereas we’re dismayed by the readiness of some people to interact in harmful, violent and illegal exercise as a approach of expressing their opposition to the mission, our dedication to addressing an pressing scholar housing disaster, and to supporting unhoused members of our neighborhood, is unwavering,” Gibson stated.

Activists proceed to struggle — legally and on the bottom

Individuals mill across the bushes that have been felled on Aug. Three when UC Berkeley started building at Individuals’s Park. Credit score: Ximena Natera, Berkeleyside/CatchLight

Earlier than the court docket determination, activists on the park who continued to occupy the realm as of Thursday evening stated they have been ready to carry down the positioning for so long as it took to cease building.

Protesters, lots of them younger folks, held a big rally at UC Berkeley Wednesday afternoon that ended at Individuals’s Park. There, they mentioned methods and reiterated their calls for for the park.

There have been some disagreements between two teams: One set, an older era of activists who intention to protect the park’s 53-year-old historical past as a communal gathering area and residential for counterculture actions, who’ve primarily fought the college by way of the court docket system; and one other group comprised of present UC Berkeley college students are extra centered on land rights and providers for homeless residents who moved into the park in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One other coalition, Defend Individuals’s Park, desires the land to be returned to indigenous stewardship, homeless residents who lived on the park to be related to everlasting housing and for UCPD to be defunded and people monetary assets redirected to providers for homeless residents, in addition to Cal college students and workers.

Surrounded by felled bushes on the park on Wednesday night, many activists in each cohorts who had been awake for over 24 hours spoke about what the park means to them and why they proceed to struggle for its existence. Individuals who have fought for housing in different components of the Bay Space got here to help their efforts.

Misty Cross, one of many co-founders of Moms4Housing in Oakland, likened the battle at Individuals’s Park to the continued closure of the Wooden Road encampment in West Oakland, which is underneath menace of closure after a damaging hearth. A decide not too long ago dominated that individuals who dwell on the park have to be housed earlier than the encampment is shut.

The town of Berkeley partnered with Cal to lease the Rodeway Inn to accommodate the park’s homeless occupants; most moved there earlier than building started. Additionally they funded a daytime drop-in shelter on Haste Avenue to divert homeless residents from the park and supply quite a lot of providers, together with meals, a respite space, machine charging, a restroom and lockers.

“Housing is a human proper,” Cross stated, to resounding cheers from the gathered crowd. “I stand right here in solidarity as a result of I too was affected by [this machine].”

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