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The University of California, Berkeley, began a project in People’s Park Wednesday, but the university was forced “to pause construction work,” it said.

The university blamed “the destruction of construction materials, unlawful protest activity and violence on the part of some protesters” for the delay.

Further, the university said, “All construction personnel were withdrawn out of concern for their safety. In the course of preparing and planning for the start of construction, safety has been the university’s highest priority, and that remains the case now. In an effort to avoid further confrontation, law enforcement officers have also now withdrawn from the site. The campus will, in the days ahead, assess the situation in order to determine how best to proceed with construction of this urgently needed student housing project.”

The university won a court order last week that said it could start the project.

But Harvey Smith, president of the People’s Park Historic District Advocacy Group, told the Los Angeles Times that Berkeley shouldn’t have tried to start the project. “The legal remedies haven’t been exhausted,” he said, noting that his group had asked a court of appeal to halt construction Wednesday morning.