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University Of California Faculty Associations Condemn Police Actions Against Protesters

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Occupy Cal Protest on the UC Berkeley Campus on November 15, 2011. (Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

Occupy Cal Protest on the UC Berkeley Campus on November 15, 2011. (Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

LONG BEACH (CBS SF) — The Council of University of California Faculty Associations condemned police actions against protesters at several campuses this week, according to a statement released Saturday.

The council, an umbrella organization for the Faculty Associations at each university campus, said that excessive force has been used against non-violent protesters at the University of California at Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, California State University at Long Beach and UC Davis.

“Student, faculty and staff protesters have been pepper-sprayed directly in the eyes and mouth, beaten and shoved by batons, dragged by the arms while handcuffed, and submitted to other forms of excessive force,” the statement read.

“Protesters have been hospitalized because of injuries inflicted during these incidents. The violence was unprovoked, disproportional and excessive,” it read.

The statement comes following protests in UC Davis Friday, where demonstrators tried to establish an Occupy encampment on the campus’s quad that day.

Police used pepper spray on sitting demonstrators, which was videotaped and shared widely on sites like YouTube, provoking outrage from throughout the campus.

In Berkeley Nov. 9, police used batons to break up a circle of protesters surrounding another intended Occupy encampment in Sproul Plaza.

Video of police repeatedly jabbing protesters in the chest and stomach with batons was also widely shared on the Internet, provoking outrage.

Before the demonstration, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued a letter to protesters reminding them that camping on campus property was not allowed.

Birgeneau defended the police action in a subsequent letter to students and faculty, but said the incident would be investigated.

“It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience,” Birgeneau said in his letter.

The Faculty Associations council demanded that university chancellors stop using police violence to squelch protests.

“We hold them personally responsible for the violence and believe it can only result in an escalation of outrage that holds the potential for even more violence,” the council’s statement said.

The council also denounced the recent fee hikes that sparked the university protests.

“Student debt has reached unprecedented levels as bank profits swell. We decry the growing privatization and tuition increases that have been the frequent-and-only responses of the UC Board of Regents,” it said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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