Things started out slow. There were only a few dozen protesters outside the building. But fire alarms were pulled in most of the adjacent buildings and when students streamed out, the chanters called them over.
As the crowd grew in numbers, so did the police. From what I could tell, it started out with just UCPD. But then Berkeley cops were called in (in riot gear) and then the Alameda county sheriff’s department (with tear gas).
For the most part, things stayed calm. But there were a few violent moments. At one point, the police wanted to set up a metal barricade since the tape kept breaking. They tried to push people back, but “hold the line” chants kept the crowd from moving. Rather than set up the barricade a few feet further back (the protesters weren’t trying to move forward) they started hitting people in the front with their batons. Here’s a YouTube video. (If you pause it just right at 2:32, you can see my big head sticking out. Look for the bright orange raincoat.)
It’s amazing to see how quickly some of the cops lost control. A few of them, once they started really wailing on people, had to be pulled back by other cops. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be so outnumbered with your every move recorded by a hundred cameras. Interestingly, the police were filming the event as well. There was at least one officer with a camcorder making sure to record every little incident.
has better footage of the police violence. I’m in this one too at 1:04.)