An “Occupy Education” protest at the University of California at Santa Cruz was briefly interrupted on Thursday after a car tried to drive through a street that protesters had blocked off.
A man driving a Ford Mustang attempted to make a right turn into the campus. The crowd of protesters had blocked off the street, but the man tried to drive through away. Protesters said the man aggressively approached them and struck several people. But a passenger in the car denied those claims.
“We did not speed through the crowd,” she told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “In fact, we were going less than 1 mph when the mob swarmed over our car, attempted to open the doors and windows, kicked our lights in and threw paint all over the car.”
A Santa Cruz police chief ordered the man to back out of the crowded intersection as protesters chanted, “don’t let him go.” Several protesters kicked his car as he backed away, while other protesters tried to keep the crowd calm, shouting “don’t hit the car.”
No one was injured, according to the Sentinel.
The protesters shut down the college as part of statewide demonstrations against budget cuts and rising tuition costs. They have called for public education be fully funded at all levels and voiced support for a California ballot initiative that would raise taxes on millionaires.
“We’ve destroyed our tax base and we stopped funding the most important parts of our society,” UCSC’s Josh Brahinsky, a graduate student and union representative, told the Associated Press. “We’re calling on the state to tax the wealthy and use that money to build services for all of us.”
Protests from around the state plan to converge at the state capitol in Sacramento on Monday.