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'Spring break' protest at UC Regents meeting leads to 3 arrests

March 29, 2012 | 10:52 am

Photo: The UCLA campus. Credit: Los Angeles Times Student protesters stripped down to bathing suits and began tossing around inflatable beach balls Thursday at the UC Regents meeting in what they called a “spring break” demonstration against high tuition.

But the relatively light-hearted atmosphere turned confrontational a short while later as UC police and a handful of protesters got embroiled in a physical tussle that led to three arrests. About 50 demonstrators attended the meeting and some spoke, denouncing the university leaders, during the public comment period of the meeting in San Francisco.

But when officials declared that period finished, the students refused to stop talking or leave the room. About 10 then took off their coats and shirts to show they were wearing beachwear and some put on Hawaiian leis or bathrobes and began dancing around as if they were at a spring break party.

The regents left the room and police gave the demonstrators 10 minutes to clear out. As the students were leaving the second floor hall, a tussle erupted between officers and several demonstrators.

Police were seen roughly pulling down three people and handcuffing them, in what some students contended was an overly violent reaction. A cadre of about 50 officers then gradually pressed forward as the rest of the students withdrew.

It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured. The regents meeting resumed about 40 minutes later. UC has faced much criticism in recent months over the handling of student demonstrators, especially the pepper-spraying of protesters at UC Davis in November.


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Photo: The UCLA campus. Credit: Los Angeles Times