Protesters Take Over Tolman Hall

Dozens of protesters are occupying Tolman Hall on the University  of California at Berkeley campus today, and there has been at least one  confrontation with a university police officer involving pepper spray,  according to police and protest organizers.   

The protest began around noon today when hundreds of protesters  gathered in Sproul Plaza to protest proposed statewide tuition hikes for the  University of California system that could increase tuition by as much at 16  percent per year over four years.  

  "We're protesting the radical change in the structure of the  university. The tuition hikes are one very large and one very painful  symptom," said Callie Maidhof, a Cal student and a spokeswoman for  "Resistance Social," the coalition that organized the demonstration.    

Students then marched across campus before a large group entered  Tolman Hall, the education and psychology building, Maidhof said.

One officer was "penned in" by the protesters when they attempted  to block the hall doors, and used pepper spray to escape the situation, UC  police Lt. Marc DeCoulode said.  

  Police estimate that there are 25 or 30 protesters in the east  lobby of Tolman Hall and another 25 or 30 in a classroom there. The  protesters are meeting with each other, and police were not attempting to  remove them from the building as of around 2 p.m.    

"Things are fairly stable right now, the protesters are in place,  we're monitoring the situation," Capt. Margo Bennett said.

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