UC Berkeley Gaza war protesters arrested for occupying vacant building

Officers have arrested at least 12 Gaza war protesters on Thursday, who took over a vacant building near UC Berkeley's campus one day earlier, university officials say. 

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said that only one of those arrested was a currently enrolled student at Cal. 

The protesters arrested face charges of burglary, vandalism and conspiracy.

Campus police and outside law enforcement agencies responded to Anna Head Hall on Thursday to clear the building. The university-owned building is off campus. 

The group first took over the building on Wednesday. The university said between 10 and 20 people had occupied it that day. Authorities have not confirmed how many protesters were inside on Thursday.

The university confirmed the group is different from the protesters who established an encampment near Sproul Plaza weeks ago. That encampment was dismantled after a deal was reached with university administrators.

Mogulof said some UC Berkeley Police officers were struck with "people wielding crowbars" during the removal of protesters last night, but said the officers' helmets shielded him from injury. There are no reports of any protesters injured.  

There was also an encampment on the lawn of Anna Head complex, located at 2538 Channing Way, where protesters had erected barricades.

Video footage from the ground on Thursday showed crews dismantling the encampment outside the vacant building that had been spray-painted with red graffiti.

As the night wore on, the crowd of protesters swelled to around 250 people near what would be the entrance to People's Park. 


Pro-Palestinian protesters begin dismantling UC Berkeley encampment

Pro-Palestinian protesters have begun dismantling their encampment on UC Berkeley's campus on Tuesday.

Mogulof characterized the building's occupation as a crime scene, not an exercise or display of free speech.

"The suspects blocked the north entrance to Anna Head with plywood and shields; they violently resisted arrest, using crowbars to hit officers and using their hands to resist arrest," said Mogulof in a statement the morning after the protesters were cleared. He said investigators are now reviewing surveillance video from last night, to see if they could identify people in the crowd who tried to strike officers with crowbars. "More charges may be pending," he said. 

The demonstrators said they would not speak directly to the media when asked to explain their message or what group they represent. Instead, they said they would put out any comments on their People's Park Instagram page.

Image 1 of 6


Neighbors said they are concerned about safety issues but don't want to see an escalation with police targeting this group of protesters, whether they are students or community members.

"We want to hear what the people protesting have to say and not accept that distinction," said Eddie Yuen, a Berkeley resident.

"They're not bothering anybody, but I don't think they should be there in that particular area," said Marc Sutker of Berkeley. "They can protest all they want. I have no problem with that. I'm more concerned with that being a fire hazard."

The university said the building is not safe due to the fire from a few years back and it has since been boarded up.

Near People's Park, several garbage and recycling bins were strewn about in the streets until police cleared them from the area. Large planters were toppled. Some protesters threw rocks and banged their skateboards on shipping containers that officials erected at the People's Park entrance. The historic park is slated to become UC Berkeley student housing

More than a dozen law enforcement agencies from the Bay Area responded to these protests, including police officers from various UCs, California OES law branch, Oakland Police Department, California Highway Patrol, San Francisco Sheriff's Department and San Francisco Police Department, among others. 

KTVU's Jana Katsuyama and Bailey O'Carrol contributed to this report.