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Four People Arrested Trying to Build Toilet

April 24, 1989

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ Four people were arrested Monday after they chained themselves to a concrete slab poured over the weekend in an effort to build a permanent toilet on university-owned People’s Park.

The protesters were cited on misdemeanor charges of entering property with the intent to cause damage, said Sgt. Leroy Pereira of the University of California at Berkeley, which owns the 2.3-acre lot.

Campus workers later tore up the slab and carted it away. There was no resistance by those arrested, although officers had to use bolt cutters to remove them, said Pereira.

On Thursday, 50 people commemorating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the park started building the toilet, only to have it torn up the next morning by campus workers and police. They returned over the weekend.

The park had its beginning on April 20, 1969, when activists began occupying the empty lot, which had been bought by the university 10 months earlier. The school intended to build student housing there.

A month later, riots erupted as the campus fenced the lot and tore up shrubs and grass sod planted by the activists. During the riots, one man was killed, an artist blinded and hundreds of others wounded by authorities.

The fence was torn down in 1972 by protesters, and the university since then has allowed limited use of the land by the public, with the condition that nothing permanent be built on it.

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