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Pro-Palestinian protesters put up more barricades, pitch tents as UC Berkeley building occupation grows


BERKELEY — More wooden pallets and tarps went up around the Anna Head Alumnae Hall on Thursday, creating a makeshift barricade around protesters occupying the dilapidated UC Berkeley building for a second day, while about a dozen tents were erected on the front lawn of the hall.

It was a quiet second day for pro-Palestine demonstration, with both protesters and university officials remaining silent about either their demands or how the demonstration would be managed. On Wednesday, several protesters broke into the building, a historical landmark that once housed the all-girls Anna Head School Complex and has been boarded up since catching fire in 2022.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the site on Channing Way and Bowditch Street is an active crime scene, but no arrests have been made. The suspects’ identities are still unknown and Mogulof said the university would not be discussing response plans.

“This is not nonviolent civil disobedience. The suspects are trespassing and vandalizing an unsafe, boarded-up, fire-damaged building next to People’s Park,” Mogulof said in an email Thursday, reiterating remarks made Wednesday.

The demonstration came a day after a pro-Palestine encampment in Sproul Plaza came down after a coalition of students, faculty and staff landed on a deal with university administrators. That group agreed to break down their camp in exchange for the university promising o look into divesting from certain industries, including weapons manufacturers, mass incarceration and surveillance companies, as well as companies that use prison labor. Cal Chancellor Carol T. Christ also issued a statement in support of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

A demonstrator occupying the vacant building — which demonstrators renamed Hind’s House after a 6-year-old Palestinian girl killed in Gaza — could be heard in an Instagram post Wednesday calling the university’s promises “empty.” They later said the group of a couple dozen people decided to occupy the building because the Sproul Plaza encampment wasn’t enough.

Mogulof said the university has confirmed the group involved in those negotiations is not associated with those currently occupying the hall. Meanwhile, the UC Berkeley Divest Instagram account reshared a post from the UC Berkeley Graduate Students for Justice In Palestine stating their solidarity with the protesters at the hall and condemning the university — and Mogulof directly — for attempting to “fragment and divide our movement for Palestine.”

“We reject the ‘good protestor’ vs. ‘bad protestor’ and ‘inside’ vs. ‘outside’ dichotomy. This divide is inaccurate, untrue, and destructive, especially in the face of UC Berkeley’s unwavering support of genocide,” the post read. “We are united in this movement. The brave students and organizers occupying Hind’s House are calling out UC Complicity and its billions of dollars invested in war and militarism.”

For months, students, faculty and staff have been protesting on campus, demanding that the university disavow the war in Gaza and call for a permanent and immediate ceasefire, divest all financial holdings supporting Israel’s military operations, end academic partnerships with Israeli universities, and support Palestinian students, including the establishing a Palestinian studies program.

Their demands were prompted by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza that reached a boiling point on Oct. 7 when Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took 250 as hostages. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military response, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Check back for updates. 

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