Mass Protests and Arrests in Davis Over Food Workers Contract

A rally held at the Memorial Union on the UC Davis campus in support of allowing the UCD Food Service Workers (AFSCME) to unionize merged with some other groups opposed to the Iraq War and U.S. Immigration Policy. The bulk of the rally was held to support workers rights to unionize and get affordable health insurance. UC Davis, is according to organizers, the only UC campus which contracts out the food service workers to a private multinational corporation, with high health insurance premiums.

The crowd was initially estimated by the UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza at 150, but even she admitted that was a very low number. I would guess upwards of 400 based on my count.

They held a rally at the MU for about half an hour. Then marched around the quad, down to Freeborn and held a brief rally there before heading down Howard to Russell and then down Russell to the corner of Russell and Anderson.

At that point, they marched into the intersection and chanted, beat their drums, and marched in circles for a good period of time.

The event was well organized. The police did a good job of blocking traffic, diverting it away from the protest and also did not engage with the protesters.

It was only when the larger group left the street to stand on the sidewalks, then a group of perhaps 24 to 30 people sat down in the middle of the intersection.

At this point, Lt. Dorothy Pearson gave the order to disperse. When they did not disperse, officers read the protesters their rights and arrested them, one-by-one leading them into a bus.

When this was done, the protesters peacefully dispersed and there appeared to be no incidents. It was well handled by both the police and the organizers to make a point. Although you can see from one of the photos above, the police were ready with riot gear (or two of them were) if the crowd got out of hand.

New Davis Police Chief Landy Black lauded the protest, said that is what this country is about, and said that those who were diverted and delayed in their vehicles were given some time to consider which side they were on.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting


  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.


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