32 Arrested at UC Davis
from No Compromise Issue 7
 

By Derek St. Pierre
Animal Rights Direct Action Coalition - San Francisco

Davis, Calif.--On Sunday, April 20th, myself and two other activists watched the sun rise from atop the new primate facility at University of California's Davis campus which was under construction (the same facility had been attacked a month before by the A.L.F., causing $1,000 in damage). By about 8:30 a.m., the police had arrived in full force in anticipation of the day's events. There were between two and three dozen cops, a prison bus, several vans, and a half-dozen cop cars. None of them knew they were being watched.

At about 11:30 a.m., we finally spotted the activists marching down the street towards the Primate Torture Center. From our hidden rooftop perch we could see about 50 activists marching down the two-lane street blocking traffic in both directions: cars approaching them were forced to turn around, while the ones behind them just followed along. As the activists came down the street, we watched the police anxiously scramble and put on their riot gear. The cops suited up with helmets and three-foot-long metal batons. As the protesters got closer, the police formed a line across the entrance to the research center. The march did not even slow down--they pushed forward directly into the line of the cops. The cops just started swinging and people went down. A few ski-masked individuals broke through and made a run for the facility, only to be chased down by cops and beaten with batons. I watched as one person came within inches of having his head taken off by a cop who took a full swing at him with his baton. Luckily, the person ducked just in time to avoid it and ended up getting kicked by the cop instead.

Just after the mayhem began at the entrance to the lab, we unfurled a huge banner which read: "Primate Torture Center: 3500 Innocent Victims." We began yelling at the cops and chanting with the rest of the protest. The police were dumbfounded as to how we got up there (it was later explained to the police that "we teleported up there.")

At the entrance, the arrests and police brutality continued. Person after person was grabbed by the cops, put into pain and compliance holds, then dragged away. The majority of those arrested went limp and were tortured by the cops to try to make them walk. Eventually they were dragged, leaving many of them with cuts and bruises.

Shortly after the protest began, we were joined by someone who snuck past the police lines to join us. We lowered the ladder and added a fourth person to our occupation of the rooftop. After he was up, we refortified all the entrances to the roof so that we would have no uninvited guests. As the protest continued, the words "FREEDOM," "ANIMAL LIBERATION," and "VEGAN REVOLUTION" began to appear on the front of the building. Who knows how they got spray painted there? Next thing you know, construction material and equipment began flying off the rooftop to the cheers of the crowd below.

After over a dozen of the activists were arrested, a ski-masked figure broke through the police line and raced for the building. The police were not able to respond until he already had a huge lead on them. He sprinted the 300 yards to the main door to the lab. As he got about ten feet away, his arm drew back and fired a fist- sized rock into the Plexiglas front window. He was tackled seconds later, unmasked, forced to march back to the bus.

As the day went on, the numbers at the front gate began to dwindle as protester after protester was dragged away and put in the police bus.

After occupying the roof for over four hours, the police sent over our attorney to negotiate our exit from the rooftop. Without water and after having most of the protesters arrested, we agreed to come down in exchange for bottled water, a charge of only trespassing and misdemeanor vandalism, and a promise that we would be cited and released.

A total of 32 people were arrested. The three juveniles were released almost immediately. The 29 adults were kept in the Yolo County Jail on charges ranging from trespassing and resisting arrest to vandalism and wearing a mask during the commission of a crime. All were released on their own recognizance by shortly after midnight.