Tent protest against unrest in Gaza growing at UC Berkeley

Tents belonging to pro-Palestinian demonstrators have sprung up outside Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, the home of the Free Speech Movement, with their supporters, growing by the day.

Wednesday was Day 3 of the sprawling protest.

"It is a coalition of over 75 students, staff, faculty and alumni organizations. So alumni have been sort of flowing through as well," said Matt Kovac, a graduate student studying history.

The protest started Monday with about a dozen tents. Now there are at least 70 large tents, right outside the administration building on campus.

Demonstrators have also been a regular presence at nearby Sather Gate, hoping to call attention to what they call the mass killing of people in Gaza.

KTVU tried to talk to campers and others involved in the protest, but we were directed instead to Kovac, serving as their media rep.

"We have seen a massive outpouring of community support, particularly support for the demands that we are camped out for," Kovac said.

Demonstrators want the university to condemn the violence in Gaza, support Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students’ right to organize and to cut all ties with weapons companies that support Israel.

UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said Wednesday, "The University of California at Berkeley has no plans to change its investment policies or practices."


'Free Palestine' protesters block part of I-880 in Oakland, Golden Gate Bridge

‘Free Palestine’ protesters on Monday blocked several sections of freeway around the Bay Area, including a section of I-880 in Oakland and the Golden Gate Bridge right at the peak of the morning commute.

The administration and campus police have been largely hands-off for now, as there have been no reported problems.

"We are handling and dealing with this protest in a manner that’s completely consistent with UC policy, that says we must only turn to law enforcement if there is a specific, credible threat to people’s safety," Mogulof said.

He noted there are less than three weeks left in the spring semester.

"So we’re going to focus all of our efforts in ensuring that there’s no disruption to university operations," Mogulof.

Asked how long the tents would stay on campus, Kovac said, "No rest until divest, like, we’re here for the long haul. We plan to hold the UC accountable to its self-proclaimed mission, you know, as the home of the Free Speech Movement."

Henry Lee is a KTVU reporter. E-mail Henry at Henry.Lee@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and www.facebook.com/henrykleefan