Following protests of varying sizes nationwide on March 1, over 10,000 students are expected to rally and march at the Capitol today in Sacramento in support of public higher education. Additionally, students plan to engage in over 100 lobbying visits as part of the UC Student Association’s annual Student Lobby Conference in Sacramento. Whether the protesters will attempt to occupy the Capitol building later in the day remains to be seen — follow the live blog and @dailycal on Twitter for updates.
Staff writers Damian Ortellado, Amruta Trivedi and Christopher Yee reporting from the field.
According to CHP, at least 72 protesters were arrested at the Capitol today.
Arrests have concluded at the capitol, though the total number has not yet been released.
SWAT CHP officers are currently arresting protesters.
State Senator Leland Yee just met with Occupy the Capitol protesters and asked CHP to allow them to stay, according to his Twitter account.
Updated numbers indicate there are around 49 protesters in the hallway outside of the rotunda and 18 in the rotunda itself.
There are still approximately 49 protesters in the hallway outside the rotunda and roughly 50 on the steps outside the building. Police officers are also present outside the building on horseback.
Police have issued a second dispersal order and suggested protesters give their possessions to their friends if they do not want them to be processed while they are arrested.
Some of the protesters in the capitol building have begun to link arms.
Police have asked protesters not to link arms or they could be cited for resisting arrest.
Reporters and protesters at the capitol are saying police have issued a dispersal order instructing protesters to leave the capitol grounds or risk being arrested.
About 40 protesters remain in the rotunda. CHP officers are currently blocking all four of its entrances, though no dispersal order has been issued. It is now one hour past the building’s closing time.
California Highway Patrol officers now on the scene have dozens of nylon handcuffs in their back pockets.
The protesters have issued five demands to the state, which include passing the “millionaires tax,” canceling all student debt, democratizing the UC Board of Regents and CSU Board of Trustees, fully funding all education and amending Proposition 13.
Protesters walked around in a circle chanting “No cuts, no fees, education must be free.” A dispersal order has yet to be issued.
California Highway Patrol officers are expected to give a dispersal order at 5 p.m., giving Occupy the Capitol protesters five minutes to disperse after it is given. Protesters are voting on whether they will all leave the building or allow those who are volunteering to stay to potentially face arrest.
Only about 60 Occupy the Capitol protesters remain in the rotunda, and they are currently trying to decide whether to stay or go.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sat and chatted for awhile with one of the small groups of protesters, while others chanted for him to leave. They pressed him about state cuts to social services and education, and he responded by saying, “I’m not proud of it.”
Lists of demands will now circulate for the protesters to vote upon.
As of about 3 p.m., the majority of the protesters present for the noon rally have left the area around the capitol building. About 300 Occupy the Capitol protesters are in the rotunda and additional protesters are in various rooms in the capitol speaking to legislators. There are also additional protesters outside the capitol building.
Lists of proposed demands that protesters have come up with in their small groups are being handed to facilitators at Occupy the Capitol so the assembly can vote on which they will formally call for.
Over 300 Occupy the Capitol protesters have voted to establish one to five demands during the “People’s Assembly,” which they are now discussing in small groups.
California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Kennedy said the capitol building will close at 6 p.m. unless a public safety issue arises. He also said arrests will not be made right away.
Roughly 100 Occupy the Capitol protesters are currently inside the Capitol building’s rotunda for a “People’s Assembly” to decide the protesters’ demands and next steps. Approximately 20 are being kept from entering the rotunda on its north side by California Highway Patrol officers citing fire code. Protesters outside the rotunda are using the people’s microphone system made popular by the Occupy movement to stay involved.
Hundreds of protesters are grouped outside of the Capitol waiting to pass through security and enter the building.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is speaking at the rally now.
“We’re here today because our words are not matching our actions here at the state capitol,” he said.
Dana Blanchard of Berkeley Federation of Teachers said the federation supports the capitol occupation and donated about $5000 to help bus people to the rally.
Students who left from UC Berkeley this morning have now arrived at the capitol. A rally that will feature Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Assembly Speaker John Perez will begin at 11 a.m.
Some members of the “99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice” are carrying banners that read “Make the 1% pay” and “Millionaire’s tax now.”
The march toward the Capitol has begun, with a 20-foot “Occupy the Capitol” banner generating mixed responses from March 5 protesters.
— UC Student Regent (@UCStudentRegent) March 5, 2012
About 15 members of the “99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice” have reached Southside Park in Sacramento via shuttle from UC Davis. Hundreds have already gathered in preparation for the march to the Capitol set to begin at 10 a.m. and subsequent 11 a.m. rally. Occupy Education California’s website states that protesters plan to hold a people’s assembly inside the Capitol Building at 1 p.m.
An ASUC bus with about 50 students has departed from UC Berkeley behind schedule, going directly to the Capitol building to arrive in time for rallies in Sacramento.
Alisha Azevedo, Sarah Burns and J.D. Morris are news editors.
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