SLIDESHOW: UCD protest creates tense moments
DAVIS, CA - Protestors staged a sit-in by the University of California, Davis campus Thursday, closing a day where law enforcement officers were present much of the afternoon to maintain the peace.
Approximately 80 to 90 people were in the intersection on Russell Boulevard near Anderson and LaRue roads beginning around 5:30 p.m. Police blocked off the intersection to traffic and protesters finally dispersed around 7 p.m. with a promise to meet again Friday on campus. There were no arrests.
"This is incredibly drastic," said graduate student Sarah Klotz, who took part in the sit-in. "But this is really important to us."
The generally peaceful demonstration began about mid-afternoon with a large crowd on Old Davis Road in support the statewide "Day of Action" call to protect education.
University of California, Davis spokeswoman Pat Bailey said law enforcement officers came out to keep order of the crowd of about 150 near the Mondavi Center. Bailey said officers fired pepper balls into the ground at one point.
The group was about 200 yards northeast of Interstate 80, said Bailey.
Sophomore Bryan Ramirez-Corona says he was struck by one of the pepper ball rounds.
"They shot me in the knee," he said, adding that he was absolutely positive the shot came from law enforcement.
Yolo County and Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, UC Davis police and California Highway Patrol officers responded.
One woman was cited and released. It wasn't clear why officers cited the person.
"It was really horrible. It was one of the worst experiences I've ever had," said Michelle Villegas, who was protesting near the barricade of law enforcement at I-80. She said she was friends with the woman who was cited and released by police.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter was also on the scene.
Westbound I-80 traffic was backed up for a time, but was moving again. Bailey said one freeway exit to the university was blocked off.