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March 4

UCLA: Students Storm Administration Building

By Eric Gardner |
March 5, 2010
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Los Angeles, CA - The March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Education saw a strong turnout at UCLA, with about 1000 attending a noon rally on campus against the budget cuts.

At 1:00 p.m., the noon rally ended in a militant march. Several hundred students and workers marched around campus and when they reached Murphy Hall (the administration building), demonstrators marched inside and took over the hallway outside chancellor's office. The hallway was filled to capacity with people. Students presented a list of their demands to the chancellor but were blocked from entering his office by police.

The students and workers demanded that the chancellor come out and talk to them, but he never did. Over the next several hours, protesters took turns speaking, reading poetry, doing homework and playing music.

In the afternoon, another campus rally concluded around 5:00 p.m. and attendees marched up to Murphy Hall to show support. About 100 people were still inside. At this point, the police blocked all the entrances with bicycles. They let people out but would not allow anyone else to enter the building. Protesters stayed outside in support while those inside decided what to do. Eventually, the cops declared the people inside to be an unlawful assembly and ordered them to disperse. After considering civil disobedience and holding a vote, the remaining occupiers decided to come out together. They were greeted with cheers from the outside protesters as they emerged from the building.

While the protesters were not able to confront the chancellor face to face, participants agreed that their action was successful in raising consciousness and drawing more attention to their struggle. The six-hour occupation attracted local and national news (including an interview by CNN of a lead organizer in the hallway) and demonstrated that protesters are willing to raise the stakes for the UC administrators.

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