A clique of privileged U.C. Berkeley students, upset that they’re the top 1% of elite students in the state and thus disqualified from participating in the Occupy movement, could no longer contain their frustration on Wednesday and threw an Occutantrum, attempting to “occupy” a few square yards of the 1,200-acre campus. The police dutifully played their roles in the street theater performance, showing up in riot gear and looking scary so the privileged students could shout at them and feel properly revolutionary, as instructed by their professors. Following the script, the police repeatedly removed the handful of occupation tents so that the students could feel sufficiently wronged by authority figures and thereby earn their “Berkeley protest stripes,” which have been a requirement for graduation since 1964.
The group tantrum also gave the students a chance to test their fluency in Occupese, a new language which they have all been studying since the semester began on September 17.
The students, comprising the top 1% of high school graduates in the state (the top 12.5% are guaranteed admittance to the University of California’s 11 campuses statewide; of those, U.C. Berkeley is the most sought-after and thus the most selective) twice tried to set up tents in front of Sproul Hall on Wednesday, and twice the U.C. police moved in to dismantle them, as they had announced they would do:
Dozens of police in riot gear descended on UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Wednesday in two violent confrontations with student protesters that prevented them from building an Occupy encampment on the campus.
Campus police arrested seven protesters during an afternoon altercation at the plaza after protesters set up three tents, which police promptly tore down.
By evening, protesters had once again erected tents – this time there were seven. Students joined arms and chanted “hold the line” and “the whole world is watching” while police approached with batons and bean-bag guns. After a brief scuffle, police broke through their line and pulled down the tents. Then officers formed a perimeter on the steps of Sproul Hall.