(Written by Ken Crawford)
Word on the street from the Oak Grove is that the Tree Sitters are being
removed RIGHT NOW at 8:00 AM on Tuesday 6/17. It looks like the University has decided to remove them the day before the ruling, which is a big surprise to most. That of course makes it a wise strategy as the element of surprise is key.
UPDATE as of 8:45 AM:
According to KTVU, they’re just doing pre-emptive cleanup of the surrounding trees and removing ropes and the such: “While claiming they will not be forcibly removing any of the protesters, police told reporters they were “cleaning up the mess” created in the trees and on the ground underneath.”
The Daily Cal has a short article as well that suggests the University really is trying to take the sitters out today.
UPDATE as of 9:00 AM:
UPDATE as of 9:30 AM:
The SF Chronicle has their first article up. That article is the only one I’ve found with a direct quote from a University official confirming they’re not actually intending on taking the sitters out right now: “Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the university, said, “We are removing gear and removing lines. We are not removing people.”
UPDATE as of 10:00 AM:
The news reports seem to be slowing down at this point. I’ve checked just about every local source to see if someone has an inside scoop that the others don’t and everyone seems to have the same basic storyline: A bunch of University police as well as a bunch equipment and a working crew came to the grove early this morning in what looked like the University deciding to remove the tree-sitters. The tree-sitters paniced and sent out their “all-hands” messages trying to get all of their supporters down there. The University then clarified that they were in clean-up and preparation mode. They were going to be removing structures and ropes and the such, but the tree-sitters would get to stay… for now.
As for my thoughts on these actions, it seems to me it would have been wise to just do the deed now. What has happened instead is that this has raised everyone’s awareness of their intent to do it sometime soon and that means the protest and the such that will result will be larger. Perhaps their thinking was that by cleaning things up ahead of time, when they get the ruling tomorrow AM, they’ll be ready to rock and roll right away. They seem to be sticking to the philosophy that there is no reason to remove them until the injunction is lifted. I’ve agreed with that philosophy while we were in the long waiting period. It seems to me that it would be wise at this point to either do it right away or wait another week or so. My prediction was that they’d do it next Monday or Tuesday if the injunction was lifted. That’ll give the protestors their chance to protest but allow it to die out after the intervening weekend. When most of them went back to their regular lives next week, that’s when they would act. Perhaps that is still the plan but they wanted to get things as cleaned up as possible now, before the protests start in earnest, so that when next week comes, they’ll be that much more ready.
UPDATE as of 11:00 AM:
All the articles out there are slowly adding updates (the above links are still accurate) to fill in some of the minor details. The one thing I found notable in the updates was this statement for the reason for the actions: “Mogulof said the operation was timed to “keep a small element of surprise” and to try to keep more protesters from ascending the grove of oaks and other trees when Judge Barbara Miller issues her decision Wednesday.”
I’m not so sure I agree with the “element of surprise” aspect, because you only get to use that once, and now it’s used up… at least for a while, but the “keep more protesters from ascending” argument is a great one. I hadn’t thought about that aspect in my above analysis. Right now only the hard-core 4 people are up there (at least that’s the best guess). They’ll stay up there no matter what. However, there is a whole 2nd tier that would consider going into the trees for a shorter period of time, particularly once the “creature comforts” of ample platform space and a network of ropes were in place. Take away those comforts, make them share a very limited amount of platform space (only the spaces that the current 4 could protect) and make them climb up under their own power without the assistance of ropes, and it’s far less likely that 2nd tier are going to go up there. That’ll ensure that come removal day there are only 4 to remove, not 10-20.
UPDATE as of noon:
Just about all of the major articles were updated, most keeping the same links. The Contra Costa Times article is at a new link as is the Daily Cal’s article and the ABC/KGO article is now long enough to be worth linking.
The long and short of it is that the previous storyline is still accurate. They’ve just been rounded out to include more quotes from all the relevant parties.
In all of the updates, the comment that stuck out to me was good ‘ol RunningWimp: “In response to the campus’ move to remove the protesters’ supplies from the trees, RunningWolf said he is planning to file a formal complaint against the actions of UCPD officers and arborists at the grove. “You’re treating these protesters like criminals,” he said. “We’ve had four people that have had their lives in danger.”” Um… RunningWimp… they ARE criminals! It’s been to court and the court ruled that they were criminally in violation of the law and could be forcibly removed if the University so desired. So, I repeat, they ARE criminals.
I expect there to be a few videos available to link to from the 12:00 news shows before too long.
UPDATE as of 3:00 PM:
KTVU has posted the on-site press conference with Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof. What is most notable about the press conference is that he said “there are no plans to forcibly remove” the tree-sitters. I don’t know if that’s just a delay tactic to not address the issue if they don’t come down voluntarily (yeah right), or if they’re really going to play the waiting game and just under-cut their support until they come down themselves. ABC has a news report from their midday news program. It is associated to the article linked above.
UPDATE as of 3:45 PM:
CBS now has a couple of videos on the sidebar of their latest article. There are some WHACKED out people in this world… as noted by the first video. The second video is from the same press conference that was on KTVU.
UPDATE as of 4:15 PM:
The Tree-Sitter supporter who goes by the YouTube login ‘bcitizen’ has posted a YouTube video of today’s activities. It’s the standard Ayr and RunningWimp tirades where they exagerate and lie about what is being done. Nevertheless, it’s worth posting.
UPDATE as of 10:30 PM:
The only real notable update is that one of the tree-sitters was actually removed from the trees. However, it wasn’t a trial-run or something like that. The woman actually bit one of the arborists. Yes, you read that right. Bit. As in using her teeth to take the flesh from another person. As in what my three year-old son is old enough to already stop doing. In any case, apparently that’s were the University’s very generous line is, because that crossed it and she was pulled down from the trees and arrested.
That’s it for the updates today. Expect full analysis of the ruling tomorrow as soon as it is available, which I am hoping/expecting will be very early in the day.