UCLA students arrested amid Gaza protests


A tense standoff persisted at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) on Thursday night following the arrest of over 50 student and faculty protesters at a campus encampment, where they had been protesting against Israel’s actions in Gaza. Despite the arrests, some students remained on campus, continuing their protest, while others returned to the protest site, as reported by UCLA Radio. Chants of “We’re not leaving” and “peaceful protest!” echoed among the demonstrators as police deployed tear gas and made arrests.

The protests began on April 25 when UCLA students pitched tents to voice their opposition to Israel’s actions in Gaza and to demand that UCLA divest from companies linked to Israel, recognise Palestinian lives and statehood, and condemn Israel as an apartheid state. However, the university declared the encampment illegal on Tuesday, threatening disciplinary action against students. On Wednesday, pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the encampment, prompting a dispersal order from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) followed by a similar order from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

The encampment, situated in the northeast part of the campus at Dickson Court, faced violence on Wednesday night when pro-Israel groups assaulted protesting students with pepper spray, sticks, stones, and metal fencing. Despite the attacks, students rebuilt the encampment on Wednesday morning. As law enforcement presence increased, classes were canceled for the day, and Royce Hall remained closed. Many protesters, including those who were arrested, expressed their determination to continue their demonstrations. Reporters highlighted the potential impact of the highly publicised events on US public opinion regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza and the role of the US government.