A demonstration against UC Santa Cruz's new Biomedical Sciences Facility and growth plans began peacefully yesterday morning, but turned violent around 12:30 p.m., shutting down some upper campus roads and prompting a response by from area law enforcement agencies.
At least one person was arrested as activists hoisted platforms into two redwood trees on Science Hill.
Onlookers said officers used pepper spray and nightsticks on protesters to prevent them from taking down barricades around the trees.
Officers from UCSC, Santa Cruz police, the Sheriff's Office tactical unit, State Parks and a private security company worked to control the crowd, which had about 500 people at its peak, according to onlookers.
Details on how many people arrested were not immediately available. Emergency dispatchers said an ambulance was staged on campus.
About 200-300 protesters remained at the protest site and some were helping the tree sitters ferry gear and supplies into their arboreal posts, according to onlookers.
The demonstration began around 11 a.m. with about 200 people rallying at the Bay Tree Plaza - the center campus.
Tree sitters said in a press release prior to the demonstration that they are opposed to the planned addition of 4,500 full-time students and the development of 120 acres of upper campus forest. UCSC plans to develop the occupied site into a new Biomedical Sciences