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People's Park: Resources from The Bancroft Library

Thursday, May 15th
4:45am: Wary of possible violence, campus officials sent law enforcement from the Berkeley Police Department, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, and the California Highway Patrol to clear People's Park. Under their watch, the Park was bulldozed over, and an 8-foot chain link fence was erected along the perimeter.

12pm: Protesters held a noon rally in support of the Park on UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, the epicenter of the Free Speech Movement five years prior. Afterwards, over 3000 people attempted to march through the city towards the Park, but were blocked by law enforcement. The confrontation quickly turned violent with demonstrators throwing bottles and rocks, setting cars alight, and smashing fire hydrants open. Law enforcement first responded with tear gas, and then with shotguns loaded with rock salt, birdshot, and buckshot.

2pm: Additional police forces were called in from San Francisco, San Leandro, Walnut Creek, Richmond, Oakland, Pacifica, and Contra Costa County.

6pm: The riot was finally quelled, and 48 people arrested. Officially, 43 participants and bystanders were hospitalized, but there were many more wounded who did not seek treatment to avoid getting arrested.

9pm: Governor Ronald Reagan declared a "state of extreme emergency" in Berkeley, sending 2700 National Guardsmen. A curfew was imposed and public assembly banned.