Capitol Alert

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A late morning march and rally to call attention to cuts to higher education has transformed into an effort to "Occupy" the state Capitol.

Several hundred demonstrators are gathered in the rotunda and hallways of the Capitol as they sort out what demands they plan to seek as part of their protest.

ReFund California, a coalition backing a proposed tax hike on Californians making more than $1 million to fund education and other state services, had previously announced plans to Occupy the Capitol following a rally sponsored by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, California State Student Association and the University of California Student Association.

Video by The Bee's David Siders.

California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said it is too early to say if and when any arrests will be made as a result of the sit-in. The Capitol typically closes to the public at 6 p.m., though Clader was unable to immediately confirm whether the doors will close at that time today.

"We have a responsibility to protect citizens and a right to free speech and to peacefully assemble, but we also have a responsibility to protect citizens and their property from being damaged from acts of illegal conduct," she said.

Clader said one arrest has been made on Capitol grounds today, though it was not clear whether the person was affiliated with the protests. Paul Anthony Jones, 34, was arrested for being in possession of a switch-blade knife on the north side of the Capitol just before noon. Details about what Jones was doing at the time of his arrest were not immediately available.


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