[Ed Note: TheNick gives a solid run down with fotografias of what is going on at the Grove. Bee Tee Dubya, "Ayr" was the "Authority Challenging Leader" from Saturday's Defensive Drills]
Continuing from my previous post ...
So after finding out that there might be something going on up at "hippie-land", my friends and I rushed up there to see what might be going on.
From a distance we could see that the "pod" was still there, though no one was inside.
We arrived to find, as I had said before, an expanded barrier that went all the way to the median:
"Why do you get a hardhat and I don't?"
The hippies had been, for the most part, relegated to the opposite side of the street. There were far fewer students and other onlookers around by the time we got there though.
"We claim this lawn for all hippie-kind."
The excitement in the air was palpable. As you can see from the photo above, people seemed to really be reveling in their absolute victory. One guy (not pictured) shouted "Impeach the Regents". This dog is an example of just how exciting it was.
"I shall not be moved until capitalism has fallen."
We were about to leave when we learned that there was going to be a group shower, no wait, a press conference... by the hippie leaders. We figured why not wait and see what they have to say. I won't go into too many details about what they actually said. Frankly, I don't want to repeat most of it, but it consisted mostly of hippie rhetoric and outright lies. The leaders attempted to gather a bunch of hippies on the median across the street from the video camers, thus creating an environment where cars were continually going through the background of the video frame, in between the speakers and the "backdrop" people. They were, as has been previously noted, very distrustful of anyone telling them what to do and were incredibly disorganized.
The first speaker claimed to be a "former" student at the university.
"Did I graduate? I don't remember!"
Next up was Doug Buckwald, though I don't have a picture of him speaking. Third was one of the people organizing this whole thing. He said his name was "Ayr" (he spelled it) and that he had been there from day 1. He also introduced himself in the third person, took a step back, took a deep breath, and then apparently switched personalities or something into Ayr.
Lastly, Dumpster Muffin climbed back up near, but not in, the "god pod" so that she could make a call on her cell phone to Ayr, who was holding another cell phone up to a megaphone so that everyone could hear it. She read a prepared statement and then answered a few questions. The best part is that Ayr first tried to put the cell phone up to the wrong side of the megaphone. I'm not making that up.
Note the random bicyclist behind him that was in the video frame. He had just decided to stop by and be on the news, apparently. After each speaker finished or when they said something particularly hippie-ish (perhaps mentioning the spirit of the trees or mother Earth or something) everyone would cheer, howl, whoop, etc. The whole time another guy was walking around blowing and inhaling on what may or may not have been incense.
"But I did not inhale... Oh wait."
The guy who shouted "Impeach the Regents" did so several more times. He also compared the situation to Nazi Germany and the removal of Jews from their houses (I'm not making that up either, Twist).
Random hippies blocked traffic (you can see about a dozen cars were backed up here) and the police would occasionally shuffle people out of the way and let the cars go through the video shoot. Usually it wasn't too much of a problem but several cars tried to speed through and very nearly clipped a hippie. They would have TOTALLY earned themselves 10 points, and 50 for someone without shoes, but alas, no one did.
Some of the few remaining tree hippies looked on from their perches and wiggled branches while the speakers talked or while Dumpster Muffin read her prepared statement. You can barely see this guy clinging to the telephone pole, since he apparently chose the "Evil Mogwai" camoflage. Maybe somebody splashed water on him or fed him fried chicken.
The best part, in my opinion, was that throughout the entire debacle, you could hear chain saws coming from the trees and see arborists collecting small branches and carting them away.
As we were leaving, I spoke with a UCPD officer and asked him about the jurisdiction of the area. He was kind enough to answer my questions and told me that the stretch of Gayley Rd / Piedmont Ave from the International House to the "fire hydrant at the stop sign" is actually city property, and thus the City of Berkeley is currently okay with the blocking of the northbound lane of traffic...currently.
If you see these crazies on the news, take it with a grain of salt. Unless the university comes out with something else, the media will only get one side, and it's not a very good one.