In Brief

Protesters arrested as Wheeler Hall occupation ends

20 November 2009

Student protesters in Wheeler windowStudent protesters occupying a Wheeler Hall classroom speak from a window to a crowd of supporters gathered on the hillside below. (Steve McConnell/NewsCenter photo)
UC Berkeley police arrested 40 demonstrators in Wheeler Hall Friday evening, bringing the daylong occupation of the classroom building to a peaceful conclusion.

Those arrested shortly after 5 p.m., including both students and non-students, were cited for trespassing and then released at about 7:30 p.m., to the cheers of hundreds of supporters still ringing Wheeler Hall. They had taken over classrooms and a corridor on the second floor of Wheeler, at the heart of the UC Berkeley campus, approximately 14 hours earlier.

Since 3 p.m., a group of senior administrators, faculty, and student leaders had been attempting to engage the protesters in a conversation, but their efforts were refused.

The protesters had demanded reinstatement of 38 AFSCME custodial staff who were recently laid off, and amnesty and the dropping of charges against any of the protesters.

Friday’s takeover of Wheeler Hall directly affected 3,800 students, who were not able to attend classes in the building, as well as many others who have offices or work in the building. Activities in many other campus buildings were disrupted by the false activation of fire alarms.