It's loud and noisy in downtown Sacramento. And it could get ugly.
University students are staging an extremely large protest rally at California's Capitol today, but their event may be hijacked by Occupy groups who are believed to be planning a confrontation with police.
Student associations from the University of California, the California State University, and the community colleges staged today's march to express collective anger with recent increases in student fees, and budget cutbacks that have reduced class offerings and made it more difficult to graduate on time.
"You'll hear us out or we'll vote you out," protesters chanted on the Capitol's west steps.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, who helped broker recent budgets that included deep cuts, was among calling for higher taxes today at the rally.
Early projections were for a crowd of at least 10,000. By midday, it wasn't close to that. There's no lockdown, technically speaking. But the gathering is so large that access to the Capitol itself has been limited to certain doors. And nearby office buildings have their doors locked.
There's a heavy police presence, in part due to last week's clash between Occupy Oakland protesters and law enforcement following another rally.
Occupy groups and another group called Refund are planning what they call action training to occupy the Capitol later today. That has raised concern that group members are planning to enter the building and refuse to leave by close of business, in order to force mass arrests.
The Refund group is backing the so-called Millionaire's Tax being pushed by the California Federation of Teachers for the November ballot.