Berkeley Tree-Sitting Saga Continues

Judge lifts the construction injunction; Five people were arrested after protest on chancellor's lawn.

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An Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday to lift an injunction that's been preventing construction of an athletic center at UC-Berkeley, the Daily Californian reports. That means that the days could be numbered for the 44 trees on the construction site that have been at the heart of the dispute between the university and eco-activists. It's the latest development in a saga that already has lasted 19 months and generated 40,000 pages of legal documentation. The organizations that have sued to stop construction on the center can appeal the decision, though—without another injunction—the university could begin work while that appeal is being considered.

The development is bound to fluster further the protesters who have been living in those trees to block construction and their supporters. On Monday, five people involved in the tree-sitting protest at UC-Berkeley were arrested after allegedly attempting to plant an acorn sapling on the chancellor's lawn, the Californian reports.

"We went down...and planted a tree on his lawn, basically giving him a gift of kindness and an offering from the grove," said the de facto leader of the protest. "If I was a public servant...I would welcome that and say thank you for giving us a new life, especially during global warming."

The five were charged with trespassing, attempt to injure, vandalism, and conspiracy, according to the Californian. One also was charged with resisting arrest, and another was charged with battery for allegedly hitting a police officer in the head with a wooden pole, the paper says.