University of California officials asked for a court order Wednesday to remove a group of Occupy protesters from a plot of farm land used for crop research.
The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, alleges that the protesters, along with other unknown individuals conspired to cut locks, enter the property illegally and establish an illegal encampment.
It further alleges that the protesters have repeatedly disobeyed UC requests that they leave the property.
The university told the court it needed the removal order because “if defendants do not leave the property immediately, the growing season will be lost.”
UC officials also asked the court for monetary damages for costs it has or will incur as a result of the trespass and for the rental value of the land during the occupation.
The protest began on Earth Day, April 22, when a group of protesters calling their movement "Occupy the Farm" took over a plot of land known as the Gill Tract, located near the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, and began planting crops.
"Occupy the Farm" member Anya Kamenskaya said protesters were awakened at about 6 a.m. Wednesday by police announcing over a loudspeaker that they were blocking the gates to the property by putting up barricades.
She said police told the group that if they were to interfere with the placement of the barricades, they could be subject to chemical agents or other consequences.
UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof confirmed that UC police had put concrete barriers in place at the two vehicle entrances to the property.
He said cars not associated with the university won't be allowed in, but people on foot are still able to come and go.
Mogulof said the "door remains open" for the protesters to accept a compromise solution proposed by the university. In a letter issued Friday, the university gave Occupy the Farm protesters until Saturday night to leave the property.
In return for vacating the plot, the university offered to conduct a public dialogue on continuing "urban farming" on the land.
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