Police beat down 70 year old poet Robert Haas.

This past week at UC Berkeley, several thousand students, faculty, and employees of the university came together to protest a proposed 81% tuition hike, increased privatization of the UC system, the troubling conflicts of interest demonstrated by Board of Regents members’ private business interests and their responsibilities to advocate on behalf of the UC community with the State government. While, for example, the governing body of the UC Regents (publicly appointed officials of the State of California) and campus administration have decided that the burden of making up losses in the budget crisis should fall heavily on students through rapidly rising tuition (the current figure is already triple what it was ten years ago) and on members of faculty and staff who’ve received reductions in pay and increased workloads — or have been laid off entirely — the current Regents have invested at least $1.5 billion of the UC’s money in projects in which many of them personally hold significant stakes and, of course, also authorized $3 million in bonuses to top administrators last year alone.
These are some of the reasons why so many people (myself included) gathered together on Wednesday to stand in peaceful protest in front of Sproul Hall. In addition to organizing numerous teach-ins, a rally, march and campus-wide walkout, students also hoped to set up a two-day encampment in the spirit of the other Occupy movements around the country to create a public forum for discussion and education about the current financial situation of the university and the condition of public education in the country today. All day, the crowd was gathered in explicitly peaceful assembly to petition our government for a redress of grievances. As the university first responded by the early afternoon not with administrators to enter into dialogue, but with hundreds of riot police, some students even took the time to recite the first amendment to police and protesters alike.
Whether or not you agree with the reasons for the protests, however, I would hope that you would all at least share my horror at what followed. As hundreds of students linked arms to form a human chain around the one tent they had (the few others they had tried to set up were ripped down and confiscated by the police with no warning earlier in the day), riot police began beating them mercilessly without warning or provocation. Some of you may have seen the following clips.
Here, you can see the police suddenly start to attack the protesters without cause. The young man in the front that they keep beating even after he’s unable to get up is a first-year graduate student in my department named Josh Anderson. He was the first of a number of students that had to be taken to the hospital that day. As you can see from the video, neither he, nor any of the other students being beaten with batons strike back at the police with violence. Instead, you can see him, barely able to stand, gingerly raise a peace sign after being repeatedly struck on the head, neck, ribs, and legs.

Read the full article  by J. Kornbluth here.

0 thoughts on “Police beat down 70 year old poet Robert Haas.

  1. I’m still under the impression that this is a free country….
    I read the above and I want all to know I was afraid to view the “action” part of the beatings…
    What is going on in this country?…I hope someone with some sense and authority will see that these rogue police should be held, accountable…
    I wish all that were injured a speedy recovery..
    I wish those that did the beatings… some time in jail..

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