Berkeley Treehouse Protests Sports Development

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

A tree house near Berkeley’s Campanile tower in Berkeley, California is inhabited by protestors who wish to save a grove of Oak trees from destruction to make room for a sports centre.

The university wants to remove dozens of the picturesque oak trees, called evergreen coast live oaks, to build a $125 million training facility for its Golden Bears athletic teams.

Lawsuits have been filed by the City of Berkeley and others challenging the building plans. They argue the athletic center would be environmentally and seismically unsound, which campus officials deny.

The protest began last Dec. 2, 2006. It’s unclear exactly how many tree-sitters there are, or whether they are students or outsiders. Many rotate in and out at night and wear masks, and they usually give false names.

Although some just spend a few hours in a tree to show solidarity, others seem to hang out for days or weeks, helped by supporters who hoist food, water and reading materials to them in buckets and haul out trash, excrement and other waste.

In October 2007, officials at the University of California, Berkeley, won the legal right to oust the band of tree-sitters and they are currently trying to come up with a way to remove the protesters without violent confrontation. However, other lawsuits relating to the issue are still pending, and the sitters have vowed not to descend as long as the oaks are in peril.

Link to Washington Post Article