Students in Wisconsin and California go into occupation against cuts to public funding and in solidarity with strikers.
On 2nd March as part of a student day of action across the US, 75 students at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) occupied the Peck School of the Arts Theatre Building, while 9 students chained themselves to the roof of the Wheeler Hall building at UC Berkley. Police had arrested 17 students the previous evening when they briefly occupied the lobby of Wheeler Hall.
A statement from UWM occupiers said that they “stand in solidarity with the workers and students striking and occupying the Wisconsin State Capitol building” and demanded “immunity for all occupiers and strikers involved in these actions”. The Berkley occupation issued these 4 demands:
1. Roll back the fee hikes, both the 8 % increase of 2010 and the 32 % of 2009.
2. End police repression on campus. Hands off student protesters!
3. Democratize the Regents.
4. Put a stop to Operational Excellence, our campus’ incarnation of structural adjustment programs.
Protests gripped Berkley campus throughout the day with multiple fire alarms being set off, banner drops and at least one class being held on the steps of Wheeler Hall. As word spread, around 400 protesters assembled outside to show their support. There were reports of pepper spray being on the crowd by police 1 occupier was arrested.
After the University guaranteed no occupiers would be charged and that a meeting with the chancellor would be set up, the students came down from the roof to join the released arrestee and cheering crowds. An occupier from UWM connected the actions with protests around the world offering “solidarity with students and workers from Egypt to Madison”.
Further protests have been called for throughout March as part of a Spring of Resistance, culminating in a national day of walkouts and strikes on the 31st: