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Thousands Protest at State Capitol to Save Public Education and Social Services
by Jonathan Nack
Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM
Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack

Thousands Protest at State Capitol to Save Public Education and Social Services
by Jonathan Nack
March 6, 2012

OAKLAND, CA – Students, educators, workers, and supporters of the budding Occupy movement, converged in the thousands on the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 5. They were there to demand that the government fund education and social services.

They came in response to a call by Occupy the Capitol put out by Occupy Education California. [ http://OccupyEducationCA.org ]

Chants filled the air. “No hikes, no fees, education must be free!” And, “They Say Cutback, We say fightback!”

In the morning, a march left Sacramento's Southside Park headed for the Capitol. There they were joined by thousands of other protesters.

They came from across the state. Some had even marched for five days from San Francisco to be there. [ http://occupyeducationca.org/wordpress/?p=681 ] Students came from the Central Valley, Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern California, the Bay Area, and from northern counties too.

A large rally took place on the Capitol lawn at 11 am. The crowd was diverse, mostly young, but with a healthy dose of veteran activists and elders. Student groups and campaigns, such as the petition drive to put a millionaires tax on the ballot, [ http://www.millionairestaxca.com/ ], and community organizations such as ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), were more in evidence than teachers' unions - though there were many educators present. A few politicians where there. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsome was allowed to speak, and later sat on the floor in a hallway with protesters.

By noon, protesters were already entering into the Capitol, which remained open, but heavily guarded. Rigorous security inspections were conducted of every person entering the Capitol. A general assembly was scheduled for 1 pm, but long waits on long lines to get in, pushed that back.

Some protesters were able to enter the Capitol Rotunda, but the California Highway Police (CHP), which is in charge of the Capitol, soon blocked off all the entrances to the Rotunda. Most protesters were jammed into the various all hallways leading into the Rotunda.

While the CHP firmly blocked the protesters, it should be noted that they were not in riot gear and were generally not provocative. They were there in numbers and had numbers of Sacramento PD, stationed just off the Capitol grounds, for back up. (They may also have concealed more CHP who were in riot gear within the bowels of the building.) The overall CHP approach appeared, on this day, to be to keep things as low key as possible and to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Under these difficult circumstances, a general assembly (GA) did nevertheless get under way using the mic check system. A vote was taken affirming a list of demands to be presented to the legislators and Gov. Brown. The demands are: 1) Pass the Millionaire Tax, 2) Cancel all student debt, 3) Democratize the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Directors and Trustees, 4) Fully fund all education, and 5) Amend Prop 13 to move to a split roll tax, commercial vs residential.

The general assembly also voted on whether or not to occupy the Capitol by refusing to leave at the 5 pm closing time. The decision was to stay and do nonviolent civil disobedience. [ http://www.news10.net/news/article/182387/2/PHOTOS-Fund-our-Future-rally-draws-thousands?odyssey=tab|topnews|bc|large ]

Eventually, 76 people were arrested for trespassing for refusing to leave. [ http://occupyeducationca.org/wordpress/?p=549 ]

The day of protest at the Capitol climaxed five days of intense activity to save education and social services in California. On March 1, Occupy Education actions took place across the state and nationwide. [ http://www.occupyed.org/home/ ] On March 1, in Oakland, the marchers going to Sacramento were given a rousing send off. [ http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/03/04/18708647.php ]

The Daily Californian, the student newspaper of UC Berkeley, has a daily blog of activities and events. [ http://www.dailycal.org/2012/03/05/live-blog-updates-from-the-march-5-day-of-action-in-sacramento/ ]
§Four horseman
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Signaling the U. S. is in distress
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Rally from the back looking left
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§We can't fund education, but we pay for wars?
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Double Underrepresented banner
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§San Mateo Adult Education banner
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Tax the Rich! Peace & Freedom Party banner
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Tax the Millionaires banner
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§UPTE banner
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Long lines of people waiting to get into the Capitol
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Some protesters did get into the Capitol Rotunda
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Protesters on the Rotunda floor
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education rally inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§CHP blocked off the entrances to the Rotunda
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Protesters blocked from entering Rotunda settle in
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§A GA in the halls of power
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Holding a section of the GA in one hallway of the Capitol
by Jonathan Nack Tuesday Mar 6th, 2012 1:38 PM

Occupy Education inside the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA
March 5, 2012
Photo: Jonathan Nack
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Education not State sanctioned BrainwashingZachary RunningWolfWednesday Mar 7th, 2012 12:08 PM