About 300 demonstrators there began marching toward Interstate 80 on Thursday afternoon, with the apparent intention of disrupting traffic, but ran into a wall of 75 police officers before they could reach the freeway.
After marching through the freeway, they went through campus and now they are headed to an intersection near downtown Davis.
It all started peacefully as protesters, mostly students, were rallying outside campus. Then a group separated and tried to go to I-80.
Police fired pepper balls into the crowd, and officers used their batons to calm the crowds. They also arrested a woman for failing to follow police orders.
"They've been very forceful with us. We've been telling them, 'Please don't use violence, please don't use violence.' We were not using force of any kind. People were saying, 'No violence, no violence, no violence.' And they just started using batons," UC Davis student Michelle Villegas said.
"The officers were concerned that more than 100 students were getting ready to walk onto the freeway at I-80 in Davis at rush hour. They used only enough force to prevent that from happening," UC Davis Spokeswoman Sylvia Wright said.
The freeway scene ended peacefully when the protest leader was released to her fellow protesters. The administration denies excessive force was used.