UC spokesperson Dan Mogulof just sent out an update on the situation concerning Occupy the Farm at Gill Tract. Here’s one part of that:
Today at noon we began to prevent the entry of pedestrians on to the Gill Tract, although people will still be free to leave. As explained in our previous letters, we need to restore university control and supervisions of the land to fulfill our academic mission, support academic freedom and honor our obligations to uphold the law and address growing concerns in the Albany community regarding the detrimental impact of the occupation.
Police handed out a written notice that said as of noon Thursday, the tract “is closed to incoming pedestrian traffic” and that anyone remaining could be arrested. Police on the scene would not say how many protesters are inside and planning to stay.
Police are allowing people to leave, but none to come in. They are, however, allowing protesters gathered on the San Pablo Avenue side of the lot to pass food and water over the fence to those inside…
Occupy supporters said they are having a rally at 5 p.m. Thursday outside the gates.
Yesterday, UC filed a lawsuit against 14 members of the group that since Apr 22 has occupied the UC-owned, five-acre tract of land used for agricultural research. The suit requests a court order requiring the defendants to leave the property, plus monetary damages and the reimbursement of UC legal costs. Police also, yesterday, barricaded all of the entrances except for one with concrete blocks, preventing vehicles from entering the land.
Occupy the Farm claims the tract, which is used for agricultural research, is underused, and they want to utilize it for urban farming and education, as well as provide food for those in need. They also want to prevent the land from being developed should it stop being used for research.