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Student Protesters Shut Down UC Santa Cruz Campus

Students at the University of California Santa Cruz have shut down most of the school by blocking off entrances to the campus.

The protests are part of a nationwide campaign called "Occupy Education," which is endorsed by the Occupy Wall Street movement. The demonstrators are protesting against budget cuts to higher education.

The AP reports:

"Protest organizers say hundreds of students blocked entrances to campus during rainy weather Thursday morning and prevented vehicles from entering.

"School administrators had warned the campus this week about Thursday's protest. Many classes were canceled or rescheduled, and offices were not fully staffed."

The Los Angeles Times reports that similar actions, as well as walk-outs are planned for campuses across California.

"At Cal State L.A., students planned to walk out of classes and occupy the campus bookstore to protest a proposed $80-per-quarter campus fee hike that would be used to pay the salaries of newly hired academic advisors," the paper reports.

The Ocuppy Wall Street website reports that "major actions" are planned for New York City, Oakland, Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia.

The Santa Cruz protest began early this morning and at one point a car drove into protesters. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports:

"Just after 8:30 a.m. a man driving a Ford Mustang drove up High Street and attempted to make a right turn onto campus. He revved his engine, but the crowd briefly stopped him from entering. The driver then revved his engine again and drove through the crowd of demonstrators at the High Street entrance, striking several people and a bike.

"No one was seriously injured. UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis, who was the only officer on scene when the incident happened, ordered the driver to back up the car, out of the crowded intersection."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.