Saturday, March 7, 2015

UCSC Students Block Traffic and Shut Down Highway One in Santa Cruz

On March 3, six students protesting tuition hikes at UCSC blocked traffic where Highway 1 meets Highway 17 in Santa Cruz by sitting in the highway and locking themselves to cement filled cans. One can was spray painted with the message, "Fight the Fees," which references the large tuition increases recently approved by the Regents of the University of California. As a group of Caltrans workers, California Highway Patrol officers, and other police worked to saw the students free, several dozen students marched onto the highway in solidarity, which triggered its closure and caused a major traffic tie-up throughout Santa Cruz.

UCSC students lock themselves together to stop traffic on Highway One.

A police riot squad was eventually deployed to the highway, and after a notice to disperse was issued, students marched to the Santa Cruz County jail, where they knew the six lock down participants would arrive after being arrested. 

As they waited, small groups blocked traffic on Water Street, and the driveways to the jail.

When the arrested students finally arrived in a Highway Patrol van, and accompanied by riot police and a procession of miscellaneous patrol vehicles, they were welcomed by the group, who wished them well as they were held inside of the initial processing area of the jail. In response, police riot squads set up a staging area at the Santa Cruz Court House across the street.

The March 3 highway shut down was organized by students at UC Santa Cruz as part of "96 Hours of Action," a series of demonstrations to oppose tuition increases, the privatization of education, and the expansion of mass incarceration.

Marching down Ocean Street to Highway One.

Riot police block of Highway One when marchers arrive.

Blocking Ocean Street.

Marchers near the location of the lock down.

Leaving after the notice to disperse was issued.

CHP helicopter arrives.

Waiting at the Santa Cruz County jail.

The arrested students arrive at the jail in a CHP van.

Riot police block the processing area as the CHP van enters.

Demonstrators communicate with the arrested.

Blocking Water Street.

University of California riot police in front of the county building.

Santa Cruz Police and Sheriffs in front of the court house in riot gear.

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