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.
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
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.