AMATEUR footage shows students in California crying and screaming after they were pepper sprayed during a rally against a tuition fees hike.
Around 30 students from Santa Monica college in California were overcome by the caustic substance after a campus police officer sprayed at a crowd of people as they attempted to enter a meeting on Tuesday.
A number of college staff and other police personnel were also affected by the pepper spray release.
Footage of the incident showed dozens of shrieking students clutching their hands over their eyes and pushing their way past police as they tried to flee through a hallway.
David Steinman, a Green Party candidate for Congress, said he attended the protest with at least 200 students and was sprayed after the crowd rushed into the meeting room, which was too small to hold all who wanted to attend.
In the chaos that followed, two officers who had been at the door were pushed against the wall, he said. One of the officers, a sergeant, then held a container over the heads of the students and sprayed it, Mr Steinman added.