Friday, November 11, 2011

Police attack peaceful U.C. Berkeley protesters

A video uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday showing U.C. Berkeley police and Alameda County sheriff's deputies apparently attacking peaceful protesters on the college's campus Wednesday has gone viral on the Internet and has created questions over whether or not the police used excessive force in attempting to disperse the protesters.

In the video (see above), students are shown attempting to keep the police from disbanding a campus "Occupy" encampment when the police, in riot gear and carrying batons, begin beating the protesters with their batons.

The San Francisco Chronicle quotes U.C. police as saying the human fence the protesters tried to build around the encampment amounted to a violent stance against police, and quotes Capt. Margo Bennett as saying "The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence. I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest."

Other authorities — including the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild — are raising questions over the officers' conduct.

The Chronicle reports that 39 people were arrested at the protests Wednesday, including 22 students and a professor.

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