Pretty wild stuff. The student are obviously engaging in nonviolent protest–something that the American constitution’s first amendment says is “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The police associated with the University of California-Davis decided to apply pepper spray, a strong irritant, on them while they were assembling.
I may be wrong, but I am certain that the University of California administration is considered a “state actor” for purposes of government action. It is not a private university; it is actually something that belongs to the government, or where the government has enough of a role in it, as to be the government itself. (Temple and Penn State in Pennsylvania runners are, similarly, considered state actors.)
These are becoming one-a-day headlines, and the reason that are is because the powerful people in America are choosing to ignore and marginalize the message out of the various Occupy organizations. This is ironic, because the same type people were lauding the relatively smaller “Tea Party”, which was a rebranding of the hard-conservative wing of the Republican Party.
A steady diet of incidents like these is going to cause the government to lose credibility on the issues of fundamental economic fairness, and open democracy. Congress, at 9% approval, has lost it already.
[Update: The Occupy Davis website.]