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Protesters converge on Berkeley, organizers vow to set up camp
November 16, 2011 / 12:02 AM / 6 years ago

Protesters converge on Berkeley, organizers vow to set up camp

Students carrying signs march on Sproul Plaza at the University of California Berkeley prior to a general strike in Berkeley, California November 15, 2011. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

BERKELEY, Calif (Reuters) - Throngs of anti-Wall Street protesters converged on the University of California at Berkeley on Tuesday, vowing to set up a tent camp in defiance of campus rules a day after police dismantled a long-standing encampment in nearby Oakland.

Separately, police said they shot an armed man on the Berkeley campus near the Haas business school, but there was no immediate word on whether the shooting was related to the protests, nor was there information on the man’s condition.

The Berkeley rallies were called in response to the arrest of 39 people last week after demonstrators briefly set up an “Occupy Cal Encampment”, and organizers said they intended to reestablish that camp by the end of the day.

By early afternoon on Tuesday, about 1,500 people had gathered to demonstrate in Sproul Plaza, scene of 1960s protests on the famously activist Berkeley campus, police Lieutenant Alex Yao said.

Yao declined to discuss police plans or tactics for handling the demonstrations, but suggested that protesters would be prevented from rebuilding their camp there.

“Certainly that encampment is both against university policy and state law, so we will definitely again be educating protesters and participants on how they can exercise their first amendment rights,” he said.

Recent unrest surrounding protests in nearby Oakland has helped rally support nationwide for Occupy Wall Street, a movement launched in New York in September to protest economic inequality and excesses of the financial system.

But Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, adjacent to city hall, was nearly deserted on Tuesday, a day after police cleared out a long-standing encampment there and the focus of protests shifted, at least temporarily, to Berkeley.

The move on Monday to clear out Ogawa Plaza, after nearly a month of indecision on how to handle the protests, came days after a fatal shooting near that encampment fueled renewed pressure on the city to close it down.

Police arrested 33 people during Monday’s early-morning raid and removed about 100 tents, but avoided clashes that marked a previous attempt to shut down the encampment.

That move, on October 25, sparked clashes between protesters and police that wounded a former U.S. Marine and evolved into one of the most violent episodes since the anti-Wall Street movement began in New York in September.

Following the most recent raid on Monday, protesters sued the city of Oakland and its police department in U.S. District Court, claiming violations of their constitutional rights to free speech, assembly and due process.

Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston

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