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Posts Tagged ‘Pepper spray’

A Sleepy Campus In Crisis: Pepper Spray at UC Davis Sparks Online Uproar, Calls for a Chancellor’s Resignation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 21, 2011


In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011.

When campus police demanded that 21-year-old Sophia Kamran and her fellow protesters dismantle the tents they had pitched on the quad at the University of California, Davis to protest tuition increases, they refused. Instead, as online videos of the incident depict, they sat peacefully with arms crossed as officers marched up to the protest line, one brandishing a can of pepper spray to those gathered, before dousing students repeatedly at point blank range. Protesters who covered their faces were sprayed under their shirts, and Kamran said one student vomited profusely after being sprayed directly in the mouth. “It was such an intense feeling. It felt like acid was being poured on our faces,” said Kamran, a philosophy and comparative literature major. “I was basically immobile and in a lot of pain.”

Friday’s pepper spray incident — which quickly went viral over the weekend after videos of the confrontation appeared online — seems to have only emboldened Occupiers at Davis, and some say it may fortify similar protests across the country. In Davis, protesters are using the well-publicized incident to focus attention on their pleas to end tuition hikes and to bring an end to heavy-handed police action at student protests. Students say they now expect thousands of people to show for a rally and general assembly on Monday, at which they will call for the resignation of the school’s chancellor and the UC Davis police chief. If Chancellor Linda Katehi declines, students plan to force the issue at an upcoming meeting of the UC Regents. “Students are much more engaged right now than we’ve ever seen,” said Nick Perrone, a graduate student and union organizer who is part of the movement at Davis. “I’ve heard from faculty that they’ve never seen Davis activated the way it is today.”(See a video of the confrontation at UC Davis.) Read the rest of this entry »

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