Friday, June 27, 2008

Oakland Tribune: UC Berkeley gives water to tree sitters

University of California, Berkeley, police sent a case of water up to the tree sitters Thursday afternoon.

At least six and possibly seven people are living in a redwood tree in the university oak grove. They are the last remaining tree sitters protesting the removal of 44 trees to build a $140 million sports training center. Last week the university cut off the resupply from ground supporters of food and water to the tree sitters.

About 12:30 p.m. Thursday, university Police Chief Victoria Harrison and Assistant Chief Mitch Celaya made contact with the tree sitters and inquired about their remaining food and water. They said they needed both, and Harrison offered to begin providing them with food and water in exchange for a commitment to begin lowering their human waste daily. Tree sitters have several buckets for excrement and last week, some used stockpiled waste as weapons against arborists attempting their removal.

The tree sitters refused Harrison's offer. Still, police sent up 24 half-liter bottles of water, said university spokesman Dan Mogulof.  The protest has been under way for 18 months, with more than 150 people taking turns living in the trees.

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