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Protesters rally outside cordoned off People’s Park

A wall mural at Berkeley's People's Park
Pamela Rouse
Flickr / Creative Commons
A wall mural at Berkeley's People's Park

The group shut down a portion of Bowditch Street and painted a large mural there that covered just about half of it, designed by artist David Solnit.

The mural reads, "There are many hearts buried at People's Park" and is painted in bright reds, yellows, greens and blues. A black, white and gray portion of the mural depicts a bulldozer threatening the colorful message.

The event was organized by the people behind the website www.peoplespark.org, which collects historical photos of the locale, reminisces about its heyday in the 1960s and its continuing legacy, and opposes what it calls "UC's War on People's Park," due to the University of California at Berkeley's plans to build housing at the site.

The park, which began in 1967 as the spontaneous beautification of a vacant industrial lot, is now unrecognizable.

About 160 double-stacked cargo containers now rim the park, with openings sealed by steel plates. The giant wall will remain until construction is completed on the new housing project.

A developer will build units for very-low income and formerly unhoused people on a portion of the site, the university said. Plans include the preservation of more than 60 percent of the site for public green space and a historic memorial.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.