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19 protesting UC Irvine students and sympathizers charged

Criminal disorderly conduct charges were filed Thursday against 19 students and sympathizers who staged a noisy protest at UC Irvine back in February when they rushed in an administration building and camped outside the chancellor's office yelling slogans.

The protesters were charged with a variety of infractions from disturbing the peace to false imprisonment. All but four of the protesters were identified as UCI students.

On Feb. 24, many of the protesters made their way to the fifth floor of Aldrich Hall chanting outside the chancellor’s office, yelling slogans, blowing whistles and pounding on the walls and floors, according to a spokesperson for the Orange County district attorney’s office.

More than 400 university employees were evacuated from the building because of the protest, prosecutors said. The protesters initially had refused to leave the building but eventually dispersed, prosecutors said.

While students and others gathered outside the chancellor’s office, two other students allegedly pushed a Dumpster against one set of doors to the building, preventing workers from leaving, prosecutors said. One of the students is also accused of pushing a Dumpster into the street, clogging traffic.

The protest was apparently in support of campus janitors who wanted to be hired by the university rather than work as contract employees. The disruption came at a time when some student groups were also angered by fee increases.

Those charged in the campus disruption were identified as:

Moosa Matt Azadian, 21, Anaheim; Rachel Denice Burton, 21, Irvine; Juan Antonio Castillo, 48, Santa Ana; Fernando Chirino, 28, Irvine; Ryan Sinclaire Davis, 22, Santa Ana; Saron Ephraim, 22, Tustin; Sandra Flores, 20, Irvine; Dennis Lopez, 32, Irvine; Evangelina Nevarez, 36, Los Angeles; Sylvia Van Pham, 22, Fountain Valley; Celene Perez, 28, Los Angeles; Whitney Lauren Shepard, 22, Irvine;  Indar Smith, 22, Irvine; Aida Belaynes Soloman, 21, Irvine; Irendeep Kaur Srai, 22, Irvine; Samiyyah Jowharah Tillman, 22, Irvine; John Bruning, 24, Santa Ana; James Eric Lagergren, 23, Irvine; and Eric Kitayama, 26, Anaheim Hills.

 

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-- Steve Marble

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

Personally, I laugh each time I read or hear about protests. I can see why there can be a sense of accomplishment by protesters, but as a whole, is there a really a difference made? If anything this makes the student body look bad. Throwing dumpsters on streets and blockading the doors, preventing employees to exit? I think student protests are not well organized and there is always one or two "knuckle heads" who end up ruining the cause of these protesters.

Just to be clear: when the two allegedly pushed a dumpster to block the doors, 25 other students had already been pushing dumpsters to block 3 other entrances. Why single these two out?

And disagree with the protest or not, make whatever assumptions you want about the background of the students, no student around the country who has participated in a sit-in in the past 50 years has faced jail time. And why did the DA not file charges when the 17 showed up for their initial appearance back in April? Why are the charges coming now, seemingly out of nowhere, almost 10 months later? This is political repression plain and simple, trying to silence anyone who speaks out about the policies enacted by the administration, embezzlement of public funds, and punishment of other protesters, and trying to set an example for future activists: don't say anything or we'll throw you in jail.

Don't forget, too, that this comes barely 2 weeks after 9 students were detained by police for writing with sidewalk chalk on campus, and the administration denied that it had ever happened. Free speech is dead on the UC Irvine campus.


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