BERKELEY (KPIX) – A showdown was brewing at historic People’s Park, over some trees the University of California was cutting down. The university says it’s for maintenance, but protesters don’t believe them.

In the end, more than a dozen trees were chopped down Friday. In order to avoid crowds and potential protesters, lumberjacks showed up unannounced at dawn.

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The school says some trees were blocking sunshine; others were too close to power lines or simply dead.

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“There were three dead trees,” said U.C. Berkeley spokesperson, Roqua Montez. “Three of the larger trees were dead. They needed to be removed and several of the other trees had large bark branches that were slipping off and could possible fall.”

About a dozen protesters started guarding trees, ironically, trees that were not marked to come down yet.

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Read more on CBS San Francisco’s website.