Across University of California campuses students have been protesting a 32% increase in tuition. According to the Orange County Register about 300 students protested at the University of California, Irvine in Orange County, California. Last week at UC Berkeley students had been arrested during protesting. Reportedly $800 million has been cut from state funding for the public university system. During a protest there are areas in which people cannot gather, for example blocking the entrance or exit of a building and blocking a public sidewalk. People arrested during this type of gatherings can be subject to violations of Penal Code Section 407 for unlawfully assembly which is a misdemeanor. They may also be arrested for a violation of Penal Code Section 602, Trespass. However, if the people occupy a space without blocking access or have a permit to gather then they are not in violation of the law. Similarly, if authorities ask protesters to disperse and they refuse then it's a violation of Penal Code Section 416 (assembly for purpose of disturbing the peace). If people refuse to leave officers may ask protesters to place there hands behind their backs and explain that they will place plastic ties on their wrists and be taken in. Some follow these instructions others simply remain motionless but do not resist either. They just lie there on their backs and the officer has to position the person to be cuffed and taken in. These individuals may be charged with the most serious of these sorts of offenses, Penal Code Section 148, which prohibits obstructing an officer or resisting arrest.
Here is a video taken at the UCI, where protesters were maced last month: (Warning Contains Some Graphic Language)
Criminal Law Updates by Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo (714) 547-4636