Photo: ANSWER Coalition
Around 5,000 students, university staff and community members joined a mass demonstration at the UC Davis quad on Monday, Nov 21 in response to the cowardly pepper spraying of peaceful protesters by police officers just three days prior. ANSWER activists from Sacramento and San Francisco joined the demonstration in solidarity with UC Davis Occupy. The Occupy camp at UC Davis was re-established, and the General Assembly voted unanimously to call for a general strike in Davis on Monday, Nov. 28.
At the mass rally, several speakers called for UC Chancellor Linda Katehi to step down for her role in the violent police action against Occupy demonstrators. Katehi made a brief appearance in an attempt to save face, but was quickly escorted to her car as protesters chanted demanding her resignation.
Protesters had been occupying UC Davis when they were attacked by police on Friday. Police pepper sprayed students who were peacefully sitting on the ground with arms linked. At no point did the students pose a threat to police or anyone around them. Video of the attack quickly went viral on the Internet, and messages of solidarity as well as petitions and letter campaigns demanding justice and accountability have been circulating widely through Facebook and Twitter.
The UC Board of Regents has approved sharp tuition increases for two years straight, coupled with millions of dollars in budget cuts, including the elimination of important resources as well as layoffs and furloughs. The board has proposed a new 81 percent increase in fees and additional severe budget reductions.
Esteban Hernandez and Silvio Rodrigues contributed to this report.