Police arrest at least 15 pro-Palestinian protesters occupying UC Berkeley building

Law enforcement officers watch over detained pro-Palestinian protestors that were occupying the abandoned Anna Head complex near People's Park in Berkeley, Calif., on May 16, 2024. (Grace Marion/Bay City News)

Police on Thursday evening began arresting pro-Palestinian protesters who had occupied an abandoned building near UC Berkeley the day before.

Dozens of law enforcement officers set up barriers around the Anna Head complex near People’s Park, and about 6:50 p.m., after issuing a dispersal order, police broke down the door of the building.

Shortly after, police started making arrests, ushering protesters from the building.

UC assistant vice chancellor Dan Mogulof said Thursday evening that at least 15 protesters had been arrested as of 7:30 p.m. Charges may include trespassing, vandalism and destruction of property, he said.

“We are treating this as what it is, and it’s a crime scene,” Mogulof said.

Law enforcement agencies at the scene Thursday include the California Highway Patrol, UC Berkeley police and other local agencies.

Law enforcement officers detain a protestor after issuing a dispersal order to the pro-Palestinian protestors occupying the abandoned Anna Head complex near People’s Park in Berkeley, Calif., on May 16, 2024. (Grace Marion/Bay City News)

Some protesters behind barriers chanted and taunted police officers holding the line, while many others just filmed the scene on their cellphones. Some neighbors stood behind the protesters watching, while others asked police for directions to get home around the barricades.

Chants of “free, free Palestine” filled the air periodically as the sound of a battering ram rung out from the entrance of the building.

On Wednesday, some protesters entered the building through square holes in the surrounding fencing to occupy it, while most protesters occupied the grassy area outside of the fence. Protesters inside the fence erected banners and spray-painted slogans on the building in red paint.

“This is Hind Hall [sic],” one piece of graffiti read, referencing the occupation of Hind’s Hall at Columbia University. Hind’s Hall was unofficially renamed from Hamilton Hall during April protests in New York City by pro-Palestinian protesters in honor of a 6-year-old girl, Hind Rajab, who was killed in the conflict in Gaza.

A Pro-Palestine protester shouts down from a window while occuping UC Berkeley’s already-shuttered Anna Head Alumnae Hall at the corner of Bowditch Street and Durante Ave. in Berkeley, Calif., on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Grace Marion/Bay City News)

The building’s occupation Wednesday sparked a response from both police and UC Berkeley, who released a WarnMe notification at 7:06 p.m. stating that several dozen people with sticks, pry bars, and bolt cutters broke into the building and broke windows, cut fences, and spray-painted walls.

The post Police arrest at least 15 pro-Palestinian protesters occupying UC Berkeley building appeared first on Local News Matters.

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