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Photos: Thousands Gather to Rally for Education in Mostly Peaceful Protests [Updated]
Tens of thousands of protestors across the country took to college campuses and the streets yesterday to bring attention to the education crisis. In the Los Angeles area, a number of campuses were the focus of rallies in addition to one in downtown's Pershing Square.
In the San Fernando Valley at Cal State University Northridge, nearly 3,000 students and faculty culminated for the event. As the day progressed, it became more intense when students and police faced off after they took over the busy Reseda Boulevard. Five people were arrested and one 73-year-old teacher suffered a broken arm, according to the Daily News. [Update: According to a professor who was at the protest, nine were arrested]
"The First Amendment gives us the right to assemble and demonstrate," said the injured teacher, who was tossed to the ground when police rushed the crowd in the street. "That is not a privilege. It is a right. This is supposed to be a place where voices are heard."
But LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese had a different perspective. "We told the teachers, though, that we teach students the wrong thing when we allow them to take over a street without a permit," he said. "They cannot do that. What we wanted was a peaceful resolution. We didn't want to have to wrestle with a bunch of kids. It's not good for them. It's not good for us."
At UCLA, the rally was low key with about 300 people showing, reported the Daily Bruin. In downtown, where LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines demonstrated, an estimated 2,000 people showed. It was described as "loud but peaceful" by blogdowntown.
"I see this as a gathering," Cortines told the Daily News. "We are sending a message to the state and Washington that education is the most important element affecting the quality of life of any community, and it needs to be funded appropriately."