Police Clash with Pro-Palestinian Protesters at UCLA Encampment

Police Clash with Pro-Palestinian Protesters at UCLA Encampment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police dismantled a pro-Palestinian demonstrators’ encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, on Thursday. Hundreds of protesters defied orders to leave, with some forming human chains as police used flash-bangs to disperse the crowds. Some individuals were detained with zip ties.

Officers spent hours threatening arrests over loudspeakers. A crowd of over 1,000 gathered, both inside and outside the barricaded tent encampment. Protesters and police clashed as officers encountered resistance. Video footage showed police removing helmets and goggles from some protesters during detainment.

Amidst police helicopters hovering, the sound of flash-bangs filled the air. Protesters chanted, “Where were you last night?” at the officers, referring to Tuesday night’s counterprotester attack on the encampment, which took hours for the UCLA administration and campus police to respond to.

Tent encampments of protesters calling on universities to stop doing business with Israel or companies they say support the war in Gaza have spread across campuses nationwide. This student movement is unlike any other this century, with police crackdowns echoing actions decades ago against the Vietnam War protest movement.

California Highway Patrol officers arrived by the hundreds early Thursday. Wearing face shields and protective vests, they stood with batons to separate them from demonstrators, who wore helmets and gas masks and chanted, “You want peace. We want justice.”

Police systematically dismantled the encampment’s barricade and made an opening towards dozens of tents. Officers also began to pull down canopies and tents. The number of protesters seemed to diminish throughout the morning as some left voluntarily and police detained others.

The law enforcement presence contrasted with Tuesday night’s scene when counterdemonstrators attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment. Fighting continued for several hours before police intervened, though no arrests were made. At least 15 protesters suffered injuries, and the slow response by authorities drew criticism.

Protesters gather at UCLA
Protesters gather at UCLA Etienne Laurent / AFP – Getty Images

By Wednesday afternoon, a small city had sprung up inside the reinforced encampment, full of hundreds of people and tents. Demonstrators rebuilt makeshift barriers around their tents while state and campus police watched.

Some protesters said Muslim prayers as the sun set, while others chanted or passed out goggles and surgical masks. They wore helmets and headscarves and discussed handling pepper spray or tear gas as someone sang over a megaphone.

Outside the encampment, a crowd of students, alumni, and neighbors gathered, joining in pro-Palestinian chants. A group of students holding signs and wearing T-shirts in support of Israel and Jewish people demonstrated nearby.

The crowd grew as more officers arrived on campus. Ray Wiliani, a local resident, said he came to UCLA to support the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block promised a review of Tuesday night’s events after California Gov. Gavin Newsom denounced the delayed law enforcement response. The head of the University of California system, Michael Drake, ordered an independent review of the university’s planning, actions, and law enforcement response.

Protest encampments elsewhere were cleared by the police or closed voluntarily at schools across the U.S. The Associated Press tallied at least 38 instances since April 18 where arrests were made at campus protests, resulting in over 1,600 arrests at 30 schools.

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1 thoughts on “Police Clash with Pro-Palestinian Protesters at UCLA Encampment

  1. Pingback: NYPD Officer Fires Gun During Columbia Protest Clearing - Esbecgroup

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