Late Monday: CHP Arrests 68 Students for Occupying Capitol Rotunda

by on March 5, 2012 · 4 comments

in California, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Economy, Education

 Arrests Cap Day-Long Demonstration By California Students Against Cuts to  Higher Education

Calif. troopers arrest dozens in state Capitol

By Hannah Drier / Huffington Post / March 5, 2012 08:19 PM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Highway Patrol officers arrested dozens of protesters who refused to leave the state Capitol Monday night after repeated warnings, capping off a day of protests over cuts to higher education that saw thousands descend upon Sacramento.

CHP Capt. Andy Manard said police expected the number of people arrested to be 68. They would be charged with trespassing, he said.

Police started pulling out protesters who remained in the Capitol rotunda around 7:30 p.m., more than an hour after they began warning them with a bullhorn to leave. Protesters chanted “We’re doing this for your kids,” as they were lifted up by the arms one-by-one, handcuffed with plastic ties and led them away.

“We gave them about seven or eight opportunities to avoid arrest,” Manard said. “We wanted to give them every opportunity to leave. Having that many arrests puts a stress on the jails too.”

He said the protesters would be taken to the Sacramento County Jail.

Several lawmakers watched from a second-floor balcony.

Hundreds of protesters remained outside the Capitol, along with hundreds of officers in riot gear who flanked the building. A CHP helicopter circled overhead throughout the day and evening. Manard said there were 210 officers for Monday’s events.

Those arrested were part of a daylong protest over state budget cuts to higher education that have led to steep tuition increases and fewer courses at California’s public universities and colleges.

The sit-in was staged after thousands of protesters swarmed the Capitol lawn, waving signs and chanting, “They say cut back, we say fight back.”

“We were expecting to have a good future, but things are looking uncertain for a lot of families,” said Alison Her, 19, a nursing student at California State University, Fresno. “I’m the oldest in my family and I want my siblings to be able to go to college, too.”

Organizers had hoped that 10,000 protesters would demonstrate against rising tuition rates and demand that state lawmakers restore funding for higher education. But the actual turnout fell short.

After the rally, hundreds of students lined up to enter the Capitol and filled conference rooms and hallways inside. Some met with lawmakers to lobby for increased funding for higher education, while others headed for the rotunda.

CHP officers allowed several hundred students to settle on the black and white marble floor of the rotunda before all four hallway entrances to the area were blocked. Another hundred students sat down in a hallway, communicating with fellow protesters by call and response.

Protesters spent two hours debating in call and response whether to stay after 6 p.m. and get arrested. They developed a list of core demands to present to lawmakers, including taxing the rich, educating prisoners and funding free textbooks.

A statue of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus was decorated with signs reading “Stop the fee increases” and “Occupy education.”

Four people were arrested during the day, CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said. Three women were arrested for failing to obey an officer’s order after trying to unfurl a banner on the second floor, and a man was arrested outside the building for being in possession of a switchblade knife, the CHP said.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement that the protest highlights the need for California voters to approve a tax increase he has proposed for the November ballot.

“The students today are reflecting the frustrations of millions of Californians who have seen their public schools and universities eroded year after year,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a written statement. “That’s why it’s imperative that we get more tax revenue this November.”

Brown’s initiative would fund education and public safety programs by temporarily raising income taxes on people who make more than $250,000 a year and temporarily increasing the sales tax by half a cent.

The University of California Student Association has endorsed a rival initiative that would tax millionaires and earmark the revenue for education. The California Federation of Teachers and state PTA support that initiative.

Buses brought hundreds of students in from as far away as the University of California, Riverside, 450 miles south of Sacramento, for Monday’s march.

The crowd was a sea of red and white, as many wore T-shirts that said “Refund our Education” and “March March.”

Tuition has nearly doubled in the past five years, to $13,000 for resident undergraduates at University of California schools and to $6,400 at California State University schools. Community college fees are set to rise to $46 per unit by this summer, up from $20 per unit in 2007.

Sam Resnick, 20, a history student at Pasadena City College, brought a tent with him to the rally.

“We want to show the state government that we care about our education, and we’re not going to leave until they make it a priority,” Resnick said.

Despite participation from outside groups, including Occupy movement protesters and supporters of the millionaire’s tax, student organizers tried to keep the focus on education cuts.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, urged the students in a speech to use social media to spread the word about how much debt they are forced to take on to attend public colleges and universities. Perez and other Democrats support Brown’s tax proposal.

“For thousands of students across California, the debt is too much to take on and the bill is too high,” he said.

But at one point, the crowd drowned Perez out, chanting “Show us.”


San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate:

Education Protesters Arrested

(03-05) 20:03 PST SACRAMENTO — Police arrested about 50 protesters who had taken over the rotunda of the state Capitol Monday to demand an end to higher education cuts and passage of a proposed “millionaires” tax.

Hundreds of students from campuses around the state had taken over the rotund during the afternoon. The Capitol closed at 6 p.m., and the group was issued a dispersal order at 6:20 p.m.

About an hour later, the 150 California Highway Patrol officers present began to make arrests. Those arrested were taken to Sacramento’s city jail. Most were of the 50 were arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest, said CHP Capt. Andy Menard. One person was arrested for possession of a switchblade.

For the remainder of this article, go here.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan Moravec March 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm

UC Berkeley (UCB) pulls back access and affordability to instate Californians. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for public Cal. with a $50,600 payment from born abroad foreign and out of state affluent students. And, foreign and out of state tuition is subsidized in the guise of diversity while instate tuition/fees are doubled.

UCB is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of Calif. funded assets are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Instate tuition now more expensive than Harvard, Yale. Like Coaches, Chancellors Who Do Not Measure-Up Must Go.

More recently, Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on Cal. students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. Tough choices must be made: the sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents


Lois March 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I am aware of displacement of qualified instate Californians while accepting the foreign students. But I just don’t know why. I know that when Congress passed the egregious bill “there is a nursing shortage,” and went overseas and recruited what they called “foreign imports” that have replaced many professional nurses by taking bits of the job description of the professional nurse, and creating jobs with these “foreign imports” as “technicians,” cutting nurses salaries, and reduce as many nurses as they can that are paid what they are worth. Or is it because of the “New world order? I just get ill thinking of what is happening to our country.


Lois March 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

P.S. Why were the protestors arrested by CHP? Isn’t this out of their jurisdiction? And they stress the jails because of the protestors? How do you know anymore who has responsibility? And if you knew, well, I guess they just don’t have to take responsibility.

This brings up something else I remember. I have met many refugees who are brought here, along with their considerable worth. It would be nice if someone shared some light on these subjects for me.


Lois March 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

“wealth,” not worth.


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