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Police Mass Gather At UCLA After Pro-Israeli Group Attacks Pro-Palestinian Encampment

Police ordered that UCLA Pro-Palestinian supporters dismantle their “illegal” encampment as they began operations to clear the protesters.

Law enforcement officers gathered in large numbers on the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on Wednesday night, preparing to dismantle a pro-Palestinian protest camp that had been attacked the previous night by pro-Israel supporters.

Television footage captured police officers in tactical gear entering the UCLA campus, where a group of demonstrators had set up tents as part of a pro-Palestinian encampment. Some protesters were seen wearing protective gear such as hard hats, goggles, and respirator masks in anticipation of the impending raid.

The university had declared the encampment illegal, prompting law enforcement action.

Outside the tent city, hundreds of other pro-Palestinian activists gathered, chanting “Shame on you” and waving Palestinian flags as police officers advanced onto the campus.

The demonstrators, many of whom wore traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves, expressed their opposition to the impending clearance of the protest camp.

Before commencing the operation, police used a loudspeaker to urge demonstrators to vacate the protest area, located between Royce Hall and the main undergraduate library. The university had cancelled classes for the day following a violent clash the previous night between the encampment’s occupants and masked counter-demonstrators armed with sticks and poles.

However, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s office condemned the police handling of the violence that erupted on the UCLA campus.

The incident unfolded when a masked pro-Israeli group launched an assault on a pro-Palestinian student encampment, prompting a call for police intervention.

A spokesperson for Governor Gavin Newsom expressed dismay at the “limited and delayed” response by law enforcement, deeming it “unacceptable.”

In the aftermath of the altercation, hundreds of police officers descended on the campus in the early hours of Wednesday morning, following over two hours of intense fighting.

The incident at UCLA occurred just one day after similar confrontations at Columbia University in New York City, where police arrested pro-Palestinian activists who had occupied a building on campus and dismantled a tent city.

Mayor Eric Adams confirmed that approximately 300 individuals were arrested at Columbia University and City College of New York, with charges including trespassing and criminal mischief.

These incidents are part of a broader wave of student activism across the United States in response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Students at numerous universities have organised protests and erected tent encampments to voice their opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza and call for divestment from companies supporting the Israeli government.

The demonstrations represent the largest student-led activism since the anti-racism protests of 2020.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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