People's Park was created in May 1969 when activists and residents took over a derelict lot owned by the university and turned it into a green space. The governor at the time, Ronald Reagan, decided to use the park as a symbol of "left-wing anti-authority" and sent in police to destroy it. That led to a violent riot- Bloody Thursday- and a state of emergency was declared and National Guard troops were sent in to patrol the streets of Berkeley. Two weeks later 30,000 residents peacefully marched past the park to protest the occupation and police violence.
Today the park has gardens maintained by volunteers and is "home" to a large homeless population who receive free meals there from Food Not Bombs.