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The downtown Berkeley Post Office - slated for sale after a final appeal by the citizens of Berkeley was lost on July 17th - has now been Occupied for ten days. (See Killing the Post Office on the Altar of Privatization for background.)

Yesterday evening twenty or so US Post Office Police (who even knew there was such a force?) came by and passed out a handout that said that various actions such as smoking medicinal dope were illegal on Federal property, that hanging signs and banners on Post Office property was also illegal, and - by the way - so was trespassing after hours. As reported by the Contra Costa Times, a local paper
More than a dozen uniformed postal police... turned up the heat on protesters at the downtown post office late in the afternoon on Aug. 5, warning those occupying tents on the post office steps that they were violating federal law.

"All U.S. Postal Service property is closed to the public after normal business hours," a notice stated. "Violators are subject to arrest and prosecution."

"They're more than welcome to protest," postal inspector Jeff Fitch said... "But, they won't be permitted to ignore the law We're asking people to, on their own, pack up their tents, take their possessions with them off the property. Anyone who wants to protest, they're welcome, if they're out there on the sidewalk, out in the front where they're not blocking the stairs."

But he said they cannot affix protest signs to the building. Protesters had strung a half-dozen banners between the building's distinctive pillars, including as one stating "Our post office not for sale."

"And they can't sleep at the facility," Fitch added.

I am here to report that, as far as your diarist can ascertain from having been away for a week, illegal sleeping has been rampant at 2000 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA.

Saturday, July 27th, marked the beginning of the Occupation, with tents going up immediately after a two-hundred strong rally, sing-a-long and food-fest that afternoon. With the support of the community, the non-interference of the Berkeley Police and the tacit approval of Berkeley's powers-that-be who also don't wish to see the sale go through, the Occupation has continued peacefully for ten days now, generating a significant amount of local, if not national, publicity.

 photo po-in-tents-defense_zps81272152.jpg

No one quite knows what - if anything - is going to happen tonight, tomorrow or into the future.  But so far the action has been far more spectacularly successful than anyone thought possible.

Stay tuned.

2013/07/28 Berkeley Post Office Is Not For Sale!


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