Breaking: Protesters Block Highway 17

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Updated: 3/3/2015  2:03 p.m.

Police arrested six student under the following four charges, including one felony charge:

Penal code 370: Creating a public nuisance

Penal code 2800: Failure to obey order

Penal code 69: Failure to obey order, deterring officer from fulfilling duty

Penal code 182: Conspiracy to execute crime (felony)

The protesters were all UC Santa Cruz students, ages 20-29.

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Updated: 3/3/2015 2:30 p.m.

By 2 p.m. all six student protesters were “disentangled” by police using saws, jackhammers, pry bars and hammers to break the cement in the garbage cans. The students’ wrists were chained through tubes in the bottom of the cans. The charges for each six students include one felony of conspiracy to execute a crime and three misdemeanors for creating a public nuisance, failure to obey lawful order and failure to obey executive order from a police officer.

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Updated: 3/3/2015 1:09 p.m.

Police say potential charges for those involved could include conspiracy because the cement inside one of the garbage cans has mesh and rebar, reinforcing steel. Police say this shows the extent to which the protest was planned out.

Those involved could include the six students chained on Highway 17 and the person who rented the U-Haul to carry the garbage cans.

Marchers are waiting at the Santa Cruz Jail to support students who might be arrested.

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Updated: 3/3/2015 12:39 p.m.

Police and California Highway Patrol are using a K12 circular saw, a jackhammer, hammer and 6-foot pry bar to cut the PVC pipe holding the protesters together and garbage cans filled with cement.

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Updated: 3/3/2015 12:20 p.m.

About 30 marchers joined the six UC Santa Cruz students blocking southbound Highway 17 near the Highway 1 North exit on Tuesday. Traffic on Highway 17 has been diverted, as police try to clear the five students who are chained to garbage cans filled with about 700 pounds of cement.

Marchers are chanting and supporting the five students who are chained to the garbage cans. According to a protest organizer, the only way to move the students would be the use of a jackhammer or pain compliance, where students will be forced to let go using pressure points.

Sam Courtney, from California Highway Patrol, said they have yet to figure out the “disentanglement process, but the important thing is we don’t want anyone to be hurt.” They are moving “slowly and cautiously.”

The Santa Cruz Police Department announced arrests would be made if the protesters did not disband.

Police would not comment on how many officers are present, but reports show at least 50 officers are present, including officers from the UC Berkeley Police Department and California Highway Patrol.

The march began at the base of UCSC’s campus, as a part of “96 Hours of Action.” The march is a part of an ongoing movement against the 27 percent tuition increase, approved by the UC regents in November. Students are also protesting against the privatization of education, state investment into construction of prisons and the intersection of tuition increases and police brutality as “racialized class warfare.”

Reporting by Alexa Lomberg