Police at the University of California at Davis dismantled an Occupy encampment Friday, arresting at least 10 protesters, nine of whom were students.
Videos have surfaced on YouTube of police in riot gear pepper spraying a line of protesters who had linked arms and sat down cross-legged on the pavement to protect their camp. In the footage, an officer is seen spraying the demonstrators at point-blank range.
A total of 11 people received medical treatment on the campus and two were transported to the hospital, Sacramento's KTXL-TV reported.
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"Police came and brutalized them and tore their tents down and all that stuff. It was really scary. It felt like there was anarchy everywhere," student Hisham Alihbob told local station KCRA-TV.
Students chanted "Shame on you! Shame on you!" as officers dragged the pepper sprayed demonstrators away.
UC Davis officials had said the group may occupy the quad for as long as it wants, but could not set up camp.
"It's not safe for multiple reasons," UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said.
Police reportedly gave the students a 3 p.m. Friday deadline to remove the 28 tents from campus and showed up at the appointed time when they did not comply.
Spicuzza defended the use of pepper spray, saying officers used force out of concern for their own safety after they were surrounded by students.
“If you look at the video you are going to see that there were 200 people in that quad,” Spicuzza told CBS Sacramento. “Hindsight is 20-20 and based on the situation we were sitting in, ultimately that was the decision that was made.”
Authorities are reviewing video of the incident, Spicuzza said.
Officers left the quad area after making their arrests, leaving the field in a direction not obstructed by seated protesters, CBS reported.
Demonstrators were protesting a recently approved tuition increase in the University of California system, according to KTXL.
More photographs of the incident are available at the Davis Enterprise here.