On the same day thousands of protesters filled the streets in cities across America for the Millions March rally, which aims to call attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police, a shocking display was found on the University of California-Berkeley campus. Three cardboard cutout effigies of black men dangling from nooses were discovered Saturday on the Berkeley campus.




Amid racially fueled protests and violence that is consuming the country, the effigies appeared to represent life-size version of lynching victims. The Associated Press, quoting Berkley spokeswoman Amy Hamaoui, reported the effigies were found in two prominent areas of the campus, and were likely connected to a demonstration that was set to begin at around noon.

No one immediately claimed responsibility, but protest organizers were confused by the effigies. “We just hope it’s someone who wanted to bring attention to the issue,” said Spencer Pritchard, a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student and demonstration leader.

Hamaoui said the school also was “unsure of the intent. ... It could be that these are related to police violence and the protests that are going on in Ferguson. It could be racially motivated as well,” she added, the Berkeley Side news site reported.

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, a UC Berkeley professor and expert on intergroup relations, particularly as they pertain to race, condemned the display.

“Whether it’s commentary or provocation, it’s atrocious,” he told Berkeley Side. “It’s just mean, period. And heartless. And whoever did that simply needs to grow up.”

“It falls somewhere along the line between prank and consciously racist messaging. But it doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely thoughtless and wrong. Given the volatility of the situation, it’s just damaging to everybody.”

Police took down two of the effigies and a third was removed by a student.