State of DissentProtesters Converge on San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza as Over 10,000 Join Rallies
March 4th, Raw Footage: Picket Line at Sather GateStudents, staff, and supporters formed a picket line at Sather Gate on March 4th to show the inaccessibility of the university in protest of fee increases.
March 4th, Raw Footage: From Sather Gate to the RallyProtesters move from their picket line at Sather Gate to a rally with several speakers.
Rally in OaklandProtesters continued from Berkeley to downtown Oakland where they marched the streets. After Oakland, some headed to San Francisco to further protest.
March 4: Day of ActionFootage from Berkeley, Oakland, and Sacramento from March 4, 2010, the day of action to defend public education throughout California.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Category: News > University > Higher Education
SAN FRANCISCO-More than 10,000 people marching, rallying and demonstrating for public education captivated the attention of the Bay Area Thursday, while similar efforts from California to Maine stirred national attention.
Bay Area protests shared the common chant of "No cuts, no fees, education must be free." With the exception of the arrests of 150 Anarchists who stormed Interstate Highway 980 following a rally in Downtown Oakland, rallies in San Francisco and Berkeley remained largely without conflict.
"This has been about rallying around the cause of all schools, not just the relatively small problems at our school," said Tyler Dickie, a senior at San Francisco State University, as she marched through the streets of San Francisco. "This puts more of a mass perspective on it."
Many of those who took part in the demonstrations said the day was not about specifics, adding that a broad message of support for public education made the demonstration more powerful.
"For me, it is about the symbolic statement-I don't expect anything to come out of this," said Jackie Moore, a UC Berkeley junior, as she marched to Oakland. "We need to say we value public education."
But some found the decentralized nature of the events disappointing.
"We ended up having no unified message because some people went to Sacramento to go take issue with the government, other people went to the community in east Oakland, some took to communities in San Francisco," said Alejandro Lara-Briseno, a UC Berkeley senior, at the San Francisco rally. "All and all, we need to stand united and have a collected message from Berkeley."
At UC Berkeley-the birthplace of the March 4 Day of Action-the action began at 7 a.m. with the formation of union and student picket lines aimed at garnering more campus support for a rally held at noon. Traffic stopped at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue for about an hour as about 800 demonstrators chanted slogans and listened to speeches from organizers.
The crowd then began the five-mile trek to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland, swelling to a size of 1,000 people as students from local schools joined the march that blocked both lanes of Telegraph Avenue.
"I'm only 16, I can't vote, I don't really have a say in the politics of it all, as much as I would want to," said Hope Schwartz, a sophomore at Oakland Technical High School who joined the march. "This is the only thing I can do."
Tension within the crowd was tangible as a group of Anarchists pulled ahead of the main group marching down Telegraph Avenue chanting, "No negotiation, occupation; one direction, insurrection; one solution, revolution."
The group eventually moved behind the main banner guard of the march.
"They have the right to come in and be separate from us, but people also have the right to disassociate from them," said Blanca Misse, an organizer of the march and a UC Berkeley graduate student.
The marchers arrived at the plaza at around 3:00 p.m., joining students from Laney College and Oakland public schools who were already assembled there. According to Oakland Police Department estimates, 1,500 protested in the square.
When the rally ended at 4:00 p.m. many of those from Oakland public schools dispersed while nearly 200 protesters took BART to join a rally of more than 10,000 in San Francisco.
About 100 of the Anarchists remained in Oakland and congregated at the intersection of 14th Avenue and Broadway in a dance party before police in riot gear ordered them to disperse.
The crowd then marched to the UC Office of the President and later moved across Downtown as a line of about 25 riot police trailed them.
After crossing Broadway and arriving at Lafayette Square, an enlarged crowd sprinted across the intersection of 10th and Castro streets and onto the Interstate 980, stopping traffic in both directions.
Police surrounded the group and arrested nearly 150 people, according to Oakland police.
One member of the crowd leaped off the highway aiming for a tree and hit the pavement on 5th Street. According to KTVU, the man is in critical condition.
In San Francisco, the rally remained upbeat as teachers and staff from at least 25 different K-12 schools, community colleges, CSUs and UCs began trickling into San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza. More than 10,000 people had filled the area by 4:30 pm.
"In all my 20 years in elected office, this is the largest rally I have ever seen; I've never seen a gathering where they just take over the entire Civic Center area," said state Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo. "It's gratifying, but we've got to understand, this is just the beginning of the fight."
Hayward band Angry Tired Teachers performed on stage, while students, teachers, professors and community members addressed the massive crowd.
Hundreds breached a police barrier in front of the steps of San Francisco City Hall, waving signs and chanting "Save Our Schools."
At approximately 6:30 p.m., a group of 500 protesters branched off from the Civic Center rally onto Market Street following a banner belonging to a group of students from Canada Community College.
The group moved northbound, blocking traffic amid chanting, "No cuts, no fees, education should be free."
The crowd later moved onto Kearny Street before sprinting onto Pine Street toward Chinatown. The crowd's mood was "jubilant," said John Cabral, a senior at San Francisco State University.
"For not organizing at all, it still turned out good-it's been peaceful," he said. "It is great how we all came out for a general cause."
Jordan Bach-Lombardo, Kim Bielak, Gabby Fastiggi, Nick Myers and Katie Nelson of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.
Contact Emma Anderson and Javier Panzar at [email protected]
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