Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trash Against University Expansion

Trash Orchestra played at a march against UC Santa Cruz expansion plans. Here's an excerpt from a great article about it:

Tree Sitters Thrwart Police, Reclaim Space

With great excitement, around 400 people filled the streets, turning cars around and stopping buses in their place. The sitters, who had been in the redwoods for about eight hours at that point, could hear the clanging and banging of Trash Orchestra as the crowd grew closer. The cops, surrounded by plastic orange fencing, formed a perimeter around the trees. They were armed with pepper spray, tasers and tear-gas guns.

“We need to get food, water and blankets up to our friends” went out the call. And within minutes, tons of supplies appeared. Students went to their houses or took snacks out of dining halls, bringing back as much food as they could carry. People found water wherever they could, and in some cases donated their personal water bottles. Blankets and sleeping bags appeared and people took the sweaters off their own backs to send up into the trees. Now they just had to get the supplies past the police line.

Supporters encircled the area, looking for the best way to get to the trees. People started pushing in closer and cops responded with pepper spray and batons. Our friends were cold and hungry, and we were not about to back down and allow the cops to starve them out.

The police continued to pepper spray the crowd, and began to strike out with batons and violently tackle and arrest people who ran forward in attempts to send up supplies. At least one person was de-arrested by people in the crowd. A total of five people were arrested in this confrontation, and many more were hurt as pepper spray filled their lungs and their eyes. But this time protesters weren’t the only ones taking a beating. One cop was accidentally pepper-sprayed in the face by another cop, and another cop was punched in the face. The protesters didn’t fall back as the police pushed in, they fought back.

The protesters managed to push the police line back, surrounding the central cluster of redwood trees. As the first bit of food – a small plastic bag of trail mix – was sent up the line, everyone cheered victoriously. Supporters rushed to tie food, water and sleeping bags to the lines as fast as they could. People donated bags and backpacks to carry the supplies up in.

With excitement and momentum, the crowd continued to push the police line back. Finally, overwhelmed with the number of people who were steadfastly determined to hold their ground, the police retreated to a nearby corner. A third platform soon appeared out of nowhere and was hoisted into the trees to the tune of a cheering crowd. Eventually the police had entirely vacated the area, and we began filling it with food, laughter and music.