Anne Marie Schuler/The Daily Californian
A spokesman for the protesters who took over the building told The Daily Californian that the the protest was organized in support of a March 4 day of action against tuition fee hikes.
Hundreds of student protesters in Berkeley took on riot police early Friday morning.
It was supposed to be a protest over fee hikes, but just after midnight, the students poured into the streets from Durant Hall and the action became violent. Some of the protesters smashed windows, tossed news stands into the streets, turned over trash cans -- setting several of them on fire.
Some of the protesters dragged police barricades through the streets and were seen riding on cars and throwing objects at cops.
Scroll down to see videos of the riot from student journalists.
Videographer Josh Wolf told us the protest started as a dance party at Sproul Plaza that spread to Durant Hall. Protesters took over the building and eventually filed out and marched up Telegraph Ave. A spokesman for the protesters who took over the building told The Daily Californian that the the protest was organized in support of a March 4 day of action against tuition fee hikes.
Wolf said the planned protest was not intended to be destructive. But, Wolf said, a group of rogue protesters joined in and turned the event into a violent riot.
Campus police were overwhelmed and called in help from police across the East Bay. Video from the scene shows police hitting some of the protesters with batons. Oakland police are among those who sent assistance with more than a dozen officers on scene. The CHP also sent officers to assist.
On a blog, one protester said it's a "Real battle with cops, rioters winnin [sic]".
Police say the streets finally quieted down at about 3:30 a.m. The students said there were 300 rioters and only 25 police.
Berkeley police are telling NBC Bay Area that it was more like 200 protesters and three dozen officers.
This is not the first time upset students have lashed out over fee hikes but it is, so far, the most violent. Students have been organizing rallies and protests at campuses across the state since talk of the fee hikes began.
The board passed the 32 percent tuition increase, which went into effect last month. Students are now paying 15 percent more -- that's more than double the nationwide average for increases. The second hike this fall will raise tuition for undergrads to $10,300.
In September, angry students and campus workers brought a halt to a UC Regents board meeting after public comment turned into a yelling match.
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