New Order Stops UC Berkeley People’s Park Housing Project

BERKELEY — UC Berkeley officials confirmed Friday that a new order will prevent any construction or other activity in People’s Park, further delaying plans for a new housing project.

The lawsuit filed by Make UC A Good Neighbor and the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group (PPHDAG) challenged recently received approval from university officials to begin construction on the new homes to be built on the People’s Park site. . UC officials and representatives from those groups said the California Court of Appeals has issued a temporary residency prohibiting UC Berkeley from all construction and other activity. That includes demolition, cutting trees and other preparations who was stopped by protesters on Wednesday.

On Thursday, police confirmed the arrests of seven protesters during Wednesday’s melee. In addition, two officers were injured.

“The appeals court has issued a new injunction that, for now, prohibits UC Berkeley from continuing construction work on the People’s Park and any other activity on the site that is not necessary for public health and safety,” the statement said. about the ban released by the university.

The release also noted that the injunction will increase delays and costs of the housing project, but officials said they were “glad the court has agreed to an expedited process.” The court also allows the university to close and secure the construction site pending the expedited ruling. Officials are currently “assessing options to make that happen in a safe, effective way”.

On Friday, there were still dozens of protesters occupying People’s Park who said they were determined to stay as long as it takes to block a student housing project.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals has recognized that UC should not proceed until the court has the opportunity to more fully assess our case,” Harvey Smith, president of the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group, said in a statement. “UC has taken advantage of the legal system to destroy as much of the park as possible. We hope the court will overturn the lower court’s decision and lead to the park’s restoration.”

Additional controversy over the clash between protesters and police arose on Thursday when Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin on Wednesday criticized the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department for not providing mutual aid. because of Berkeley’s ban on the use of tear gas,

Arreguin called for a meeting on Thursday to ask the city council to reconsider the city’s ban on using tear gas for crowd control, but the mayor said he was reconsidering at the time.

“Our police had asked us to suspend this policy so we could get those mutual resources to Berkeley. I still believe that using tear gas in law enforcement situations is wrong. These are weapons of war,” Mayor Arreguin said.

Because Berkeley prohibits officers from using tear gas, it restricts the hiring of additional officers to help control the crowd.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said that never was the case and as long as he is the sheriff, the department has never turned down a mutual aid request.

“Some agencies will not respond if you don’t allow tear gas to be used if tear gas is needed to disperse the crowd,” Sheriff Ahern said. He went on to say that the deputies are training with tear gas for crowd control. He said it is being used as a step during the escalation of the armed forces, before agents move to less lethal bullets, such as beanbags or rubber bullets. He said it would be a threat to officers’ safety if they tried to control the crowd without the tools they trained with.

“My agency wouldn’t be able to respond to help manage crowds if you don’t allow us to use those tools. However, we would help by providing transportation, booking it,” Ahern said.

UC Berkeley has additional information about the construction project on its People’s Park Housing Page.

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