Occupation and Liberation at UCSC to Stop Expansion

Students at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) have been occupying spaces high up in redwood trees and on the ground since November 7th on Science Hill, site of a proposed Biomedical Sciences facility. The space below the redwoods is transforming from a parking lot into a temporary autonomous zone. Meetings are events take place every day and students enjoy the space for doing their school work. This year, anti-colonialists plan to celebrate an all day Thanks-Vegan Holiday Sit-in and Potluck at the liberated community space in resistance to UCSC expansion.

On November 14th in Berkeley, 75 miles from Santa Cruz, three people were violently arrested by UC police officers at a midnight prayer vigil at the long-standing Oak Grove tree-sit on UC Berkeley’s campus. More than 40 people, lead by a group of Indigenous peoples, walked in procession to the Tree-sit to show support for human rights and sacred sites and hold a prayerful candlelight vigil at the area, which is a sacred Ohlone burial ground.

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Tree Sit, Rally and March Protesting UCSC Expansion

UCSC Students Launch Tree-Sit at Site of Controversial Biomedical Sciences Building

Early in the morning of Wednesday, November 7th, activists opposed to UC Santa Cruz’s Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) launched a tree-sit in redwoods near Science Hill. UCSC plans to develop the occupied site into a new Biomedical Sciences Facility.

One person was arrested by UC police early in the morning. Police surrounded the site, where at least 4 activists were 50 feet up redwood trees. A scheduled rally and march that began at 11am drew hundreds of supporters to the site. A tense standoff with police commenced, as supporters attempted to get close enough to the trees to send up supplies. Police pepper sprayed the crowd and at least four people were arrested.

The Biomedical Sciences facility would be the first project under the University’s plan to develop 120 acres of forest in order to accommodate 4,500 new students. The Biomedical Sciences building will have no allotted classroom space, despite student complaints about overcrowded class sizes. But it will have room for live animal experimentation, which includes such practices as food/air deprivation, infection, and non-anesthetized surgery, according to campus guidelines.

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