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Arrested UC Berkeley protesters face burglary, vandalism and conspiracy charges

PIX Now - Noon 5/17/24
PIX Now - Noon 5/17/24 08:13

The 12 pro-Palestinian protesters who were forcibly removed from a vacant UC Berkeley building Thursday night were arrested on suspicion of burglary, vandalism and conspiracy, according to a university spokesperson. 

The details regarding the charges the protesters face were revealed Friday in an email from UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor Dan Mogulof. The email additionally alleged that some of the protesters used crowbars to assault officers and many resisted arrest, which could lead to additional charges being sought in the future.

"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," Mogulof said. 

On Wednesday, the group took over the Anna Head building on Haste Street between Telegraph Avenue and Bowditch Street to protest Israel's ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip, which was launched in response to a large-scale terrorist attack in October 2023.

School officials said that the group had sticks, pry bars and bolt cutters and that they cut fences, broke windows and spray-painted walls.

The effort to oust the protesters included officers from more than 20 different agencies, including UC Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and San Mateo counties, Pacifica and San Francisco.  

The Anna Head building has sat unused and boarded up since a fire in 2022.

A spokesperson for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office didn't immediately respond to a request for information on possible charges against the protesters.

The Anna Head occupation came just two days after the pro-Palestinian encampment in front of UC Berkeley's Sproul Hall disbanded. That encampment dispersed partially to head to a protest in Merced at a University of California Board of Regents meeting scheduled for Wednesday, and partially in response to UC Berkeley's promise to examine investments in Israel in recent negotiations. 

Pro-Palestinian protesters occupied the grassy area around Sproul Plaza on UC Berkeley's campus for 22 days to pressure the university to divest from Israel, before Chancellor Carol Christ released a statement which promised to examine UC Berkeley's ties to the Israeli government and declared her support for a ceasefire. Her statement noted that the Regents of the University of California control investments. 

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