UCLA security heightened after latest pro-Palestine protest and arrests

UCLA security heightened after latest pro-Palestine protest and arrests

Security remained heightened on the campus of UCLA on Tuesday, June 11, following another night of confrontations between pro-Palestinian protesters and police that ended with approximately 25 arrests, further disrupting a campus in the midst of final exams and in preparations for commencement activities.

The protests also came ahead of a scheduled Wednesday meeting in Westwood of the University of California Board of Regents, which is expected to discuss the appointment of a new UCLA chancellor to replace Gene Block, who is set to retire from the post on July 31.

The Regents’ agenda includes closed-door and open-session discussions of appointing a chancellor and interim chancellor.

The new chancellor will inherit a campus that has been roiled by protests in recent weeks, leading to hundreds of arrests, accusations of unfair labor practices by unionized employees, a congressional inquiry into the campus’ response to antisemitism, lawsuits accusing the university of failing to protect Jewish students and accusations by protesters of excessive force by campus police and interference with free-speech rights.

The campus tensions were on display Monday, when about 100 protesters organized by the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine initially gathered for a funeral-procession-type march that included fake bloody bodies and body parts. Protesters planned to read the names of “over 46,000 Palestinians who have been martyred or buried under the rubble” in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the organization.

The group wound up in the Dickson Plaza area, where participants set up what they called a facsimile of the previous large-scale encampment in the same area that was dismantled by police in an overnight operation last month that led to 209 arrests. Protesters also dyed the water in a plaza fountain red.

University police and campus security officers were quick to respond and used bicycles in an effort to prevent more protesters from entering the area. According to police, one individual was arrested on suspicion of interfering with a police officer, but the person was cited and released.

According to the UCLA Police Department, some of the protesters blocked the top of the Janss Steps that lead to the plaza and created what police described as an unauthorized and unlawful encampment with tents, canopies, wooden shields and water-filled barriers. The group also restricted access to the general public in violation of university policy, police said. Police also said the group use of amplified sound also threatened to disrupt final exams being held in nearby classrooms.

A UCPD officer told the Daily Bruin, the campus newspaper, that the gathering was declared an unlawful assembly around 4 p.m. Shortly before 6 p.m., university police gave protesters 10 minutes to disperse, telling them they would face arrest if they did not leave the area. The protesters quickly complied, dismantling their tents and removing other materials from the plaza, then marching to the Kerckhoff Patio, where they set up another small encampment and attempted to block off the area with patio furniture and other materials. Protesters continued their efforts to read off the names of war victims.

Within an hour, police declared that gathering an unlawful assembly and ordered protesters to disperse. The group left that area then moved to the Shapiro Courtyard behind Dodd Hall where they again attempted to set up a small encampment and continue reading names.

At that point, more police began arriving on the campus, including officers from the California Highway Patrol.

At around 8 p.m. approximately 25 members of the group were arrested on suspicion of willful disruption of university operations, police said. They were cited and ordered to stay away from the UCLA campus for 14 days.

Related Articles

News |

UN says Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups may have committed war crimes in a deadly raid

News |

Pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrate again at UCLA, arrests reported

News |

What does Israel’s rescue of 4 captives, and the killing of 274 Palestinians, mean for truce talks?

News |

Israel rescues 4 hostages taken in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, and 210 Palestinians are reported killed

News |

Israeli strike kills at least 33 people at a Gaza school the military claims was being used by Hamas

Even as police worked to dismantle the actual protest, crowds of supporters gathered nearby under the close watch of dozens of police and security officers who stood in a skirmish line. The crowd continued to chant slogans in support of the protesters.

According to the Daily Bruin, just after midnight Tuesday morning, police fired pepper balls into the crowd between Bunche and Perloff halls, prompting the group to finally disperse.

At least one protester was hospitalized “with police-inflicted rubber bullet wounds,” according to Students for Justice in Palestine.

Police said protesters damaged the Shapiro fountain, spray-painted brick walkways, tampered with fire safety equipment, damaged patio furniture, stripped wire from electrical fixtures and vandalized vehicles.

Final exams will continue at UCLA through the week. The main commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Friday at Pauley Pavilion. Individual department ceremonies will be held throughout the weekend.