Police arrest protesters who took over UC Berkeley building

From the start, UC Berkeley made it clear that the occupation would be treated as a crime scene rather than First Amendment activity.

Police arrest protesters who took over UC Berkeley building
Police raid a UC Berkeley building Thursday that had been occupied by protesters one day earlier. Emilie Raguso/Aipsasiamedia

Hundreds of officers from 20 different law enforcement agencies disbanded a short-lived protest camp near UC Berkeley on Thursday evening.

Twelve people who had barricaded themselves inside a vacant, water-damaged building owned by Cal were arrested on suspicion of burglary, conspiracy and vandalism over $400, authorities said.

Their names were not available Thursday night.

The group had occupied part of the Anna Head complex, at Channing Way and Bowditch Street, on Wednesday around lunchtime, hanging flags and painting slogans showing strong support for Palestine.

From the start, UC Berkeley officials made it clear the occupation would be treated as a crime rather than protected First Amendment activity.

Officers from the California Highway Patrol, UCPD and other law enforcement agencies flooded the area around 6 p.m.

They made quick work of setting up metal barricades and issuing dispersal orders to encourage protesters to leave on their own.

Authorities said anyone who did not leave within 30 minutes could be subject to arrest, teargas and other types of force.

A small group of people barricaded themselves inside Anna Head and could be heard chanting for Palestine as officers prepared to enter the building.

Outside, onlookers were nearly silent as they watched to see what kind of conflict might erupt.

As viewed from the perimeter, authorities seemed to seize control of the property with relative ease at about 6:30 p.m., although it was unclear what kind of force may have been used inside Anna Head.

Workers quickly descended upon the property and began dismantling the camp as the arrests began.

As of about 7:10 p.m., UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said 12 people had been arrested.

At one point, there were dozens of protesters at the barricade at Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street, one block to the south.

At Channing and Telegraph, a smaller group was able to make more of a commotion by banging on the barricades with metal objects.

As of 7:50 p.m., a group of protesters continued to chant loudly in support of Palestine just outside the barricade west of Anna Head.

Protesters chant at the barricade next to People's Park, May 16, 2024. Emilie Raguso/TBS

As the night wore on and temperatures dropped, small bands of protesters remained on the perimeter chanting and attempting to engage with police officers. But momentum never seemed to build.

Just after 10 p.m., spokesman Mogulof said in a prepared statement that law enforcement activity at the site had concluded.

"We currently have no report of injuries and expect to have additional information tomorrow about charges, suspects’ affiliation status, and other details," he wrote.

He said officers from UCPD, the CHP, Alameda County, San Mateo city and county, Oakland, Fairfield, San Francisco city and county, South San Francisco, Colma, San Bruno, Pacifica, Hillsborough, Daly City, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Cal OES and the East Bay Regional Park District took part in the operation.

The Berkeley Police Department did not participate.

Preservationists worry about fate of occupied Cal building
Paul Chapman’s group is asking UC Berkeley to take action to minimize damage to Anna Head and move swiftly to end the occupation.

As of about 11:30 p.m., all of the metal barricades that had been used to establish a police perimeter had been removed, said contributing Scanner photographer David Yee, who was still in the area.

A handful of officers remained near Anna Head, he said.

Closer to People's Park, Apex security guards assigned to monitor the park were sweeping up broken glass by the light of their flashlights.

Some Southside streets remained partially blocked by dumpsters, large planters and similar items, Yee said, but drivers were still able to get through.

Scroll down for highlights, photos and videos from the Anna Head occupation.

This story was updated repeatedly due to the developing nature of events.