Students marched, chanted and occupied a part of Doe Library at UC Berkeley on Thursday to protest education cuts that have led to fee increases and planned layoffs.No arrests were reported as of 6 p.m. Six fire alarms were pulled in at least two campus buildings around the time of an 11:30 a.m. walkout and after a noon rally at Sproul Plaza near Bancroft and Telegraph avenues. Some of the protesters went through Dwinelle and Wheeler halls and around the campus to knock on doors and drum up support, carrying signs with slogans such as "education is a right" and "$$$ for jobs and education".
By the time the noon rally began, Sproul Plaza was full, with as many as 1,000 demonstrators gathered to listen to speakers. A subsequent march around campus ended at Doe Library, where about 400 people took part in the sit-in at the library's North Reading Room, according to UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore.
Alameda County sheriff's deputies and UC Berkeley police locked entrances to the library for about an hour to prevent more people from entering. Later, authorities backed off and let people come and go but police monitored the activity inside the building.
Some students pounded desks while others chanted "Whose University? Our University!"
Students from Laney College also joined the protest inside the library and some stood on desks waiting for a response from UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Campus officials said the library had reached capacity.
Continue to read this newstext...Protesters hung a large banner saying "October 7 Day of Action Walkout" out of one of the reading room's windows. Many other banners were hung inside.
Students at other campuses around California also planned rallies.
At UC Santa Cruz, students dressed as zombies and "radical" cheerleaders to round up support for their gathering. According to campus police there, about 250 people showed up to chant, wave signs and listen to student leaders, politicians and faculty speeches.
The protests came on the same day California legislators began voting on a state budget that would increase higher-education funding.
Sponsors of the Day of Action included the American Association of University Professors, the Associated Students of the University of California and the UC Student Association.