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Occupy protesters arrested at Capitol are released -- at Wal-Mart

March 6, 2012 |  1:51 pm

ArrestAfter spending hours preparing for a confrontation with police, Occupy protesters had a relatively brief brush with the law on Monday night.

Sixty-six of the 68 protesters arrested for trespassing were cited and released, said Sean Kennedy, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, which handles security in the building.

Officers dropped the protesters off at a 24-hour Wal-Mart in West Sacramento.

“The whole thing was sort of a surreal dream,” said David Solnit, 48, one of those arrested. “We ended up all hanging out at the IHOP and the In-N-Out burger waiting for rides.”

The other two protesters arrested for trespassing were booked at the county jail and also face charges of resisting arrest. One was dragged out by officers, and the other was carried out.

On Monday afternoon, after a rally outside the Capitol involving thousands of students and activists, at least 200 gathered under the building’s rotunda to denounce budget cuts to higher education. When the building closed at 6 p.m., 68 remained and were arrested.

Four other demonstrators, arrested earlier in the day, were also booked at the county jail, Kennedy said.

He said two protesters tried to hang a large banner inside the rotunda and a third tried to help when an officer intervened.

“When the officer tried to take it, they got physical with the officer,” Kennedy said.

All three were arrested for resisting arrest, and the two with the banner were also accused of violating laws protecting state property.

A fourth man was arrested outside the Capitol for allegedly possessing a switchblade knife. That man, a 22-year-old Southern California resident, is the only one still in the jail. He is being held on $10,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, said Jason Ramos, spokesman for the sheriff's department.

RELATED:

Activists protest tuition hikes at Capitol

Thousands march to protest college funding cuts

Cal State chairman fails to win Senate confirmation

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

On Twitter at @chrismegerian

Photo: California Highway Patrol officers carry a protester from the state Capitol on Monday night. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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