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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Twelve U.S. Bank protesters ordered to court for misdemeanor charges

Twelve protesters involved in the U.S. Bank blockade on campus have been ordered to court by the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office on misdemeanor charges.

The protesters have been ordered to the Yolo Superior Court on April 27. They are facing charges of a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and a misdemeanor by “willfully and maliciously” obstructing the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk or other public place.

Demonstrators have been protesting the U.S. Bank on campus since January. Protesters sat outside the bank almost every week day until the bank was closed.

U.S. Bank announced the official closure of the branch on campus in a letter to the UC Regents on March 1, citing the situation as “intolerable.” Bank officials have cited the University’s handling of the protesters as a reason for the bank’s departure.

Before the closure of the bank, protesters were handed citations by campus police alerting them to California Penal Code Section 647C, the misdemeanor the 12 protesters are being charged with. However, the protesters were never arrested.

UC Davis spokesman Barry Schiller emphasized that the protesters were not being charged for expressing their freedom of expression.

“The demonstrators who are charged in this case have every right to freely express their dissatisfaction with the bank’s relationship with the campus,” Schiller said. “They’re being charged very specifically with intentionally obstructing the public from being able to get in and out of a public place.”

Protesters called the closure of the bank a victory for the movement.

“The bank blockade was an autonomous action from individuals within Occupy UC Davis. The blockade of the US Bank is part of a history of the student struggle against the privatization of public universities and international austerity,” wrote protesters in a statement from Occupy UC Davis.

RICHARD CHANG contributed to this article. HANNAH STRUMWASSER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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