A national student protest in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement failed to gain expected momentum in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Thursday's National Student Solidarity Protest was organized by "Occupy Colleges," a grassroots movement initiated in the Los Angeles area by the alumni of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) together with some activists.
"Occupy Colleges" claimed on its web site that as of Wednesday evening, 90 colleges in the United States were confirmed to take part in the protest on Thursday. Natalia Abrams, a spokeswoman and facilitator for the group, expected the number to surpass 100.
Organizers also said Thursday there could be the biggest student protest on the U.S. soil since 1970.
However, few students have joined the protest in Los Angeles so far.
On the UCLA campus, no protesters were seen. Students went to their classrooms as usual.
"No walk-out and no protest on our campus, and no such an event has ever been scheduled," said an information officer from Pasadena City College, one of the colleges listed by the "Occupy Colleges" website that would participate in the protest in the Los Angeles area.
But the information officer admitted to Xinhua there were students who had joined the protest in downtown Los Angeles.
University of Southern California (USC) is one of the universities on the participation list, but Xinhua reporters saw no protest on campus Thursday.
Nancy Willis, USC Office of Cultural Relations and University Events, told Xinhua, "Unfortunately, I do not see any further information. It may be run by a group who is outside USC. I cannot find any information through the USC search engine."
On the day of the protest, Abrams told the press that they are not "anti-school." Instead, they encourage participating colleges to host sit-ins and readings, in which they can spread awareness about the Occupy Wall Street movement and how they can become involved at a grassroots level.
As most major news organizations and politicians in the U.S. remain uncertain of what the movement really stands for, Abrams has a message to deliver to the skeptics.
"Our government has been around for, well, over 250 years, and it looks like they still can't come to a consensus," she said. "One of the things we'd like to see is a separation of corporate personhood."
The ongoing Occupy Los Angeles protests have received a boost from Santa Monica College's Associated Students, which voted overwhelmingly to back the growing movement.
"Students have been voicing their concerns about recent budget cuts and fee hikes (at colleges)," Associated Student President Harrison Wills said in a statement.
"Teachers are being laid off, jobs are being lost ... meanwhile, banks have been getting billions (of dollars) in taxpayers' bailout money," he said.
Los Angeles is one of the few U.S. cities where the Police Department has taken no actions to disperse or arrest the protesters, even when the camping tents have grown to almost 300 surrounding the City Hall.
Occupy Los Angeles organizer Joe Briones told Xinhua that police officers treated them very politely and friendly. No clashes had been seen between protesters and the police.
There were even rumors that some Los Angeles police officers actually brought supplies to the demonstrators. One police officer told them he lost his own house to foreclosure last month.