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Protesters block Westwood intersection, snarl traffic [Updated]

November 9, 2011 |  3:12 pm

UCLA protest

Traffic in Westwood was badly snarled Wednesday afternoon because of a student protest and street sit-in against the cost of higher education and the banking industry’s purported role in it.

After a march by about 200 protesters from the UCLA campus, several of them sat down in the busy intersection of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards and refused to move for about an hour.

The result was traffic chaos in the Westwood neighborhood, which otherwise is clogged because of construction on the 405 Freeway that runs along its western border.

PHOTOS: Protest in Westwood

[Updated at 3:35 p.m.: Shortly after 3 p.m., police arrested 11 people blocking the intersection on suspicion of refusal to disperse, said Norma Eisenman, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Traffic began to flow again soon after, she said.]

The rally and sit-in were part of a national campaign known as ReFund California, which is sponsoring a series of similar events around the state this week.

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests around the nation

Allied in spirit to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the ReFund California groups are seeking to reverse state funding cuts in higher education and to bring attention to the banking industry’s role in high student debt level and the housing foreclosures that are making it difficult for families to send children to college, activists say.

They also are urging a federal tax on Wall Street transactions and want the resulting revenues to help support education.

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 -- Larry Gordon

Photo: Eleven protesters who sat down in the busy intersection of Westwood and Wilshire boulevards and refused to move for about an hour were arrested by police on suspicion of refusal to disperse.

Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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