Following up on my posting on Tuesday about the crisis at the oak grove tree-sit:
Despite the seeming finality of the previous day’s “assault” by U.C. Berkeley on the occupied oak grove near Memorial Stadium, the standoff continued for a second day, as most of the sitters had managed to avoid capture. I swung by late on Wednesday, June 18, to see how things had progressed.
The crowd was definitely larger — word of the ongoing battle had percolated throughout the Professional Protester Community, and all the regulars came out. The atmosphere was simultaneously festive and desperate.
The sitters had constructed an insanely perilous aerie towering far above the highest branches. It was occupied by a protester with the too-perfect name Dumpster Muffin (yes, her name really is Dumpster Muffin), who would go into convulsions whenever one of the dismantlement-minded arborists neared her outpost. She’d screech and scream and shake the platform violently, forcing her opponents (who were dangling from a cable attached to a crane) to back off, fearing she’d martyr herself by plummeting to the ground rather than be captured. Using this technique repeatedly, Dumpster Muffin (seen here warily eyeing the crane in the distance) successfully defended her perch, to cheers from supporters down below.
Local TV station NBC11 captured video of Dumpster Muffin shaking her platform and screaming, with two different cameras — a zoom lens from the ground and another in their news helicopter.
At various points in the afternoon, other protesters would clamber up the Tinker-Toy-like support beams to check on Dumpster’s well-being.
A police helicopter hovered overhead, menacingly.
Late in the afternoon it was announced that a judge had temporarily halted construction on the site, causing great jubilation in the crowd. But not too long after, the University’s lawyers also declared the ruling to be a victory for their side, so as usual everything was left in confusion.
Meanwhile, some styrofoam phrenologists had abandoned their research project on the street below.