UC Berkeley Hunger Strike Continues for 2nd Week

BERKELEY, Calif. – Protesters at the University of California, Berkeley have entered their second week of a hunger strike in response to a new Arizona law requiring police in that state to question anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.

The hunger strike began May 3 when as many as 20 hunger strikers and dozens of supporters starting camping out in front of the administration building, reports SFGate.com. Protesters demanded that UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgineau publicly oppose the Arizona law, make the campus a sanctuary for undocumented students and workers, rehire more than two dozen laid-off janitors and drop disciplinary proceedings against dozens of students who occupied or vandalized buildings in protest last fall.

Campus officials offered protesters a Wednesday in-person meeting with UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in exchange for ending the hunger strike. Officials say they are concerned for the students’ health.

However, protesters were adamant that they meet with campus officials Tuesday, and said that while the strike would not immediately come to an end, at least four students who had stopped drinking liquids would begin consuming them again. When officials declined, explaining that the strike needed to end immediately, protesters said the strike would continue and as many as eight students would decline liquids.

For his part, Birgeneau, who has been traveling in Europe, denounced the Arizona law on May 7. However, the chancellor refused to stop disciplinary hearings against last fall’s protesters, nor would he reinstate laid-off janitors or declare the campus as a sanctuary, as undocumented students would be “at risk for heightened scrutiny.”

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