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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Car plows through Occupy Education demonstrators blocking entrance to UCSC campus

Wasif Chudhary

SANTA CRUZ — About a hundred students have blocked entrance to the UC Santa Cruz campus this morning, not allowing vehicles to enter as part of an Occupy Education rally.

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.

The crowd chanted “arrest him, arrest him.”

The driver and his female passenger were detained and removed from the area, which was quickly swarming with police.

Abby Edwards, 20, said she was knocked to the ground by the car, hitting her head and her knee because of the impact.

“Suddenly I'm on the hood and then on the ground,” she said.

Edwards said she was very close to being under the car before someone pulled her to safety.

“It's important for all of us to be with each other,” said Edwards, who has been on campus since 4:30 a.m. “We closed the campus.”

Judith Samson, the passenger in the Mustang, emailed the Sentinel about the incident. She wrote “We did not speed through the crowd. In fact, we were going less than 1 mph when the mob swarmed over our car, attempted to open the doors and windows, kicked our lights in and threw paint all over the car.”

Samson said they intend to press charges against those in the crowd.

Oweis said they have not determined whether there will be any charges. They are still interviewing witnesses.

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