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Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA, 100-plus demonstrators detained

Hundreds of California Highway Patrol officers on Thursday morning began removing barricades at the week-old pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA and several protesters or their supporters were arrested.

Police methodically ripped apart the encampment’s barricade of plywood, pallets, metal fences and trash dumpsters. Officers were also pulling away some of the tents and canopies from the encampment.

The law enforcement effort came after officers spent hours threatening arrests over loud speakers if people did not disperse.

At 6:30 a.m., officers continued to try and push the remaining demonstrators from the campus, which was largely cleared, with apparent flash bangs sounding off. A CHP official said the goal was to clear the campus.

KCAL reported that 100 to 150 protesters had been zip-tied and bused from UCLA.

The main encampment, near Royce Hall, was cleared of people. But heaps of debris, such as tents, remained. Royce pillars had suffered graffiti.

Largely, in recent hours, there has been little, if any, violence. The CHP alone had 250 officers on scene.



The UCLA Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and the CHP had taken up strategic positions Wednesday evening and early Thursday in a standoff with demonstrators that lasted until around 2:30 a.m., when busloads of additional CHP officers in riot gear started arriving and made their way on foot to the encampment.

The arrival of the hundreds of CHP officers broke the stalemate, though the officers faced some resistance and there were some scuffles with demonstrators. Officers also had to deal with demonstrators shining bright flashlights into their eyes. The sound of apparent flash bangs or fireworks could be heard as police moved in, and smoke rose from the scene. Journalists at the scene suggested some of the smoke may actually have come from fire extinguishers.

Some demonstrators were detained and led away in zip ties, with the student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, reporting dozens were in custody as of 3:39 a.m.

Others refused to leave the campus and police Thursday morning were working to convince them to leave. Video broadcast by ABC7 showed some demonstrators lined up, with their arms interlocked, as they squared off against officers.

The dispersal order Wednesday evening came less than 24 hours after violence erupted at the encampment Tuesday night when counter-demonstrators supporting Israel tried to dismantle the encampment and damaged it. Demonstrators rebuilt the makeshift barriers around their tents on Wednesday afternoon while state and campus police watched. The chaos Tuesday night into Wednesday morning represented an escalation locally since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Chants of “where were you last night” could be heard Thursday morning as protesters remained upset about the delayed police response Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.

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 in a student movement unlike any other this century.

In the Mideast, Iranian state television carried live images of the police action, as did Qatar’s pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite network. Live images of Los Angeles also played across Israeli television networks as well.

Outside the encampment Wednesday evening, a crowd of students, alumni and neighbors gathered on campus steps, 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 continued to grow as the night wore on as more and more officers poured onto campus.

Ray Wiliani, who lives nearby, said he came to UCLA on Wednesday evening to support the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

“We need to take a stand for it,” he said. “Enough is enough.”



As the “Palestine Solidarity Encampment” entered its seventh night of their Royce Quad occupation on Wednesday, campus police declared the encampment an unlawful assembly around 6 p.m., and announced over a loudspeaker demanding demonstrators clear out from the encampment. A couple hundred demonstrators had occupied the encampment throughout the day and Wednesday evening, hundreds more made their way to the campus.

UCLA had already canceled classes on Wednesday after the clashes the previous night, which led to 15 injuries, with an announcement in the evening advising students and staff that classes would be held remotely Thursday and Friday.

A citywide tactical alert was issued by LAPD Wednesday evening, said Los Angeles Police Officer Kevin Terzes. Tactical alerts are used to ensure resources are available for other calls for service while many resources are dedicated to a particular incident. Officers may be kept on overtime and some calls may be listed at a lower priority.

City News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Orange County Register

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