The 12 noon rally gets under way at the Occupy Cal Day of Action. Photos: Frances Dinkelspiel

The Occupy Cal Day of Action is under way on the UC Berkeley campus with a noon rally in progress at the time of writing, and news helicopters aloft to cover the action. According to the BPD, an estimated 1,500 people were gathered at Sproul Plaza at midday.

This morning, hundreds of students were sprawled around the Plaza, carrying signs, hanging out and listening to teach-ins by various faculty members. The mood was festive as they waited for the noon rally to begin.

Many had brought furniture and rugs, as well as a couple of pianos and bookcases to make the protest space like “an outdoor room”. There was no evidence of tents, despite rumors that some demonstrators might try to set up an encampment on campus.

UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff was talking about the impact of Prop 13 at one of the teach-ins, while other subjects under discussion included the Chilean political system and corporate control of the food system.

Linguistics professor George Lakoff holding a teach-in on the Cal campus at about 11:30 am today

Isabel Bukovnik, a Cal sophomore studying integrative biology, said she planned to spend several hours today at Sproul Plaza. “The system that is in place is skewed toward the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. That’s invading public education,” she said.

Demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Occupy Oakland participants, many of whom were evicted from their tent city in downtown Oakland early Monday, are expected to march to the Cal campus starting at 2:30pm. And a general assembly, planned for 5:00pm, will include a vote on whether to build an encampment.

UC Berkeley professor of public policy and former U.S. secretary of labor Robert Reich will deliver the annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture on Sproul Plaza at 8 p.m.

Rugs, tables, books and other home decor items were brought in in lieu of tents
UC Berkeley law students join the noon rally to cheers from the crowds
Will Crum singing, pretend libraries, piano playing, display of signs, and discussions at Occupy Cal

After Oakland eviction, focus shifts to UC Berkeley [11.14.11]
Councilmember’s open letter re. police force on campus [11.12.11]
Police use of force at Occupy Cal gets national attention [11.11.11]
Occupy Cal arrests total 40 as protesters plan next moves [11.10.11]
After protests and arrests, calm returns to Cal campus [11.10.11]
Protesters vote to set up Occupy Cal camp at UC Berkeley [11.09.11]

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...