University of California police used batons to beat up unarmed Occupy Cal protestors in Berkeley Wednesday night in an attempt to expel the students from their makeshift encampments, triggering a mass rally and sit-in.

Thousands of UC Berkeley students and Occupy Oakland activists clashed with university police in historic Sproul Plaza, birthplace of the 1960s Free Speech Movement, which has witnessed protests against Vietnam War and many other causes.

A video of the protest, uploaded on YouTube, shows the police forcing students to clear the area using batons, earlier during the day.

According to the Daily Californian, the campuswide day of action in support of affordable higher education and the Occupy movement has grown throughout the day to over a thousand students at its peak in the early afternoon, from teach-outs in the morning to a noon time rally that was attended by about 1,000 people.

I think fighting for public education is very important - public education is our right, Sarah Anne Minkin, a graduate student instructor in the UC Berkeley Department of Sociology, told the Daily Californian. I think that it's important to be a part of this movement for me, as a human being, it's important, and as a teacher it's important for the students to get to be a part of it as well.

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