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UBC Trek Park supporters ‘cuffed, arrested

5 April 2008 62 views No Comment

Some UBC students found themselves arrested Friday night after an event to raise awareness took an unexpected turn.

The event, Knoll Aid 2.0, was held in the area dubbed Trek Park, which is across from the student union building where the former UBC bus loop was, and includes the grassy knoll.

“This is the biggest protest movement I’ve seen here and I’ve been here for six years,” said Jesse Ferreras, a UBC master’s of journalism student. “It’s refreshing.”

Knoll Aid 2.0 was organized by the Students for a Democratic Society, UBC chapter, according to Ferreras. It was meant for the students of UBC to get together and upport preservation of the grassy knoll, located between the student union building and the old bus loop. The event was to raise awareness about intended redevelopment of the bus loop and to gain more signatures for the petitions.

Ferreras explained that the redevelopment plan had originally been a proposal to build an underground bus loop and have an above-ground commercial space where the old bus loop now sits. Some students are concerned about the commercialization of the campus and that “a lot of people believe that it will require the uprooting of the knoll.”

Bahram Norouzi, a third-year geography major at UBC, was the first person released from police custody Saturday. According to Norouzi, students had started a bonfire and were asked to put it out by police. When they refused, firemen went to put it out and Stephanie Ratjen, a fourth-year political science major at UBC, was told she was in the way. Ratjen was handcuffed and another person, who Norouzi said was one of the musicians, was also cuffed.

The students, according to Norouzi, “were amazed by the violence and brutality” with which the two had been treated.

“We made a body chain around the police car,” said Norouzi. He explained that he thought they were going to be there for a while so he left to grab blankets. When he came back, everyone had been arrested. Norouzi was upset and yelled at the police, which was what got him arrested.

Norouzi was released early Saturday afternoon without charges being laid, while the other students remained in custody.

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