UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 27, 2009

SPROUL PLAZA HOSTS BIGGEST PROTEST SINCE VIETNAM ERA

Richard Brenneman photo

Richard Brenneman, Berkeley Daily Planet - At least 5,000 students, faculty and workers gathered in Sproul Plaza at noon to protest fee increases, layoffs and furloughs at California's leading public university.

They came to challenge UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, UC President Mark Yudof, the Board of Regents, state legislators, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the public to unite in a battle to save public education in California.. . . Protesters filled all of Sproul Plaza, shoulder to shoulder with little daylight between, and carried an array of signs and banners, reading "Stop Yudof's Cuts to Education and Research," "Stop the Cuts," "Chop From the Top," and at one point uniting to chant "Layoff Yudof! Layoff Yudof!" . . . Asked if he was surprised by the peacefulness of the gathering, UC Berkeley Police Chief Mitchell Celaya smiled and said, "It's not like the old days." Only one helicopter was present during the rally and it was carrying a news crew, not tear gas.

Michael Delacour, one of the founders of People's Park, said the rally was the largest he'd seen in recent decades, larger than any of those held when faculty and students organized in the 1980s to force the university to divest from South Africa in protest of that nation's apartheid policies. .

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