BERKELEY, Calif., Dec. 3-Police arrested almost 800 University students here today, as Gov. Brown cracked down on the largest incident in the continuing protests which have plagued the Berkeley Campus all semester.
The students, backed by the Freedom of Speech Movement, marched into Sproul Hall, the main administration building, shortly after noon on Wednesday. While a crowd of more than 6000 listened in front of the court building, FSM leader Mario Savio told the students inside the building they could bring the University to a "grinding halt."
The students, who have been at war with the University over regulations restricting political action on campus and rules making illegal off-campus action a campus crime, were recently sparked into new action when the University brought new charges against leaders of the FSM.
While Joan Baez sang "We Shall Overcome," the students, marching behind an American flag, flowed into sproul for a massive sit-in. They called the sit-in an occupation action, and the students inside figuratively established the Free University of California.
Designating areas of the building for study hall, recreational areas, classrooms, first aid units, kitchens and press facilities, students proceeded to run a fairly complete society. Classes were held in subjects ranging from "The Nature of God In a Logarithmic Curve" to the Warren Report to Endocrine Glands.
The students were trapped in the building at 7 p.m., the normal closing time. From that time on, no students were allowed into the building, but an
Harvard and Radcliffe students will be joined by many from other Boston area colleges in a silent vigil in support of the Berkeley students' demands from 4 to 5 p.m. today, on the triangle to the west of Mem Hall. agreement was negotiated with police to allow students to bring supplies of food, medicine, cigarettes and toothpaste into the building.
At midnight, rumors began to fly in the building of impending police action. Students learned from a command post outside the building that Governor Brown had instructed police to correct what he called an unlawful situation at the University.
Alerted by the walkie talkies, the students learned at 2 p.m. that several vans of policemen had left the Alameda County Sheriff's office and were heading for the building. At 3 a.m. Chancellor Edward Strong, the head administrative officer at the campus, appeared in the corridor and asked the students to "please go," explaining that the University was always willing to discuss grievances through normal channels.
After the Chancellor's statement, a campus police lieutenant declared the meeting an unlawful assembly and gave the students five minutes to clear out. No one budged.
The police decided to attack the relatively undefended and isolated fourth floor. Carrying students to an elevator where they were photographed and booked, the police slowly carried out the tedious task of arrest. It took apparently twelve hours for the police to clear out 776 students from the corridors.
Meanwhile, a virtually complete general strike at the University was underway outside. With the campus virtually paralyzed, an ad hoc assembly of nearly 900 faculty members sent a telegram to Gov. Brown protesting the use of police on campus