Students at the University of California at Berkeley voted overwhelmingly to reestablish an Occupy encampment at the university's Sproul Plaza yesterday, Nov. 15, following a student strike and Day of Action packed with marches, rallies, and student protests called in response to a police crackdown on Occupy Cal's first attempt to set up tents Nov. 9.
A general assembly drew thousands to Sproul Plaza, the historic site where Berkeley's free speech movement began. The 15th annual ceremony honoring recipients of the Mario Savio Young Activist Award was held on the steps outside Sproul Hall following the general assembly, and Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and former secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton, delivered a speech on "Class Warfare in America."
By 11:30 p.m., roughly 20 tents had been pitched, and more were cropping up. The atmosphere felt like a festival as hundreds of students assembled their mini tent city, threw a dance party on the steps, waved signs, and vowed to stay their ground. Police presence was minimal, with several officers surveying the scene from a balcony above the plaza and a handful of Alameda County Sheriff deputies in regular uniform clustered near Bancroft Street at the campus edge.
The Guardian will have a full report on the events of the day and night later on, but for now, here's a video that captures the vote to re-occupy and the high-energy scene that followed.
Video by Shawn Gaynor and Rebecca Bowe