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Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA

Photo: Étienne Laurent Agence France-Presse The police, equipped with riot gear, made several arrests on the UCLA campus.

Romain Fonsegrives – Agence France-Presse and Ana Fernandez – Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles

Posted at 7:25 a.m. Updated at 8:33 a.m.

  • United States

Police on Thursday began dismantling an encampment set up at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) by students protesting the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, as they had previously done the day before on several other campuses in the United States, where arrests took place.

Before daybreak, the police, in riot gear, positioned themselves in front of the students carrying umbrellas or white helmets and forming a line, clinging to each other's arms, according to a journalist from the AFP on site.

The demonstrators, one by one, are then arrested and handcuffed. At the same time, the police methodically dismantled the wooden pallets and plywood panels from a barricade surrounding the camp and dismantled the tents.

Clashes broke out on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday on this campus when counter-protesters, many of them masked, attacked this pro-Palestinian encampment.

The attackers tried to break down an improvised barricade around of the camp. Demonstrators and counter-protesters then clashed with sticks and threw projectiles at each other.

Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA

Photo: Étienne Laurent Agence France-Presse A protester shouts his anger during his arrest on the UCLA campus.

Graeme Blair, professor of political science at UCLA, regrets Thursday a “so unnecessary” crisis.

“The university and authorities had the opportunity to de-escalate. They sent the police very late against the extremists last night (the counter-protesters having attacked the pro-Palestinian student camp, Editor's note) and now they are attacking the students participating in a peaceful demonstration,” he confided to AFP.

UCLA President Gene D. Block had warned before the violence against the presence of people from outside the campus. The incidents “have caused, especially among our Jewish students, deep anxiety and fear,” he added.

On Sunday, pro-Palestinian activists and pro-Israeli, supported by numerous demonstrators arriving from outside, came to blows, with shoving and insults.

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Camps dismantled

At the University of Texas at Dallas, the police intervened on Wednesday to evacuate a camp demonstrators and, according to this establishment, arrested at least 17 people for “criminal trespass”.

Law enforcement had apprehended several people at Fordham on the same day University of New York and dismantled an encampment set up in the morning on campus, officials said.

On Wednesday, around 300 people were arrested in New York over two university sites, according to police.

Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA

Photo: Étienne Laurent Agence France-Presse At UCLA, protesters stood in close lines to confront riot police.

During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, the police had already dislodged by force the pro-Palestinian demonstrators barricaded in a building of the prestigious Columbia University in Manhattan, the epicenter of the student mobilization in support of Gaza.< /p>

The police “arrested people at random […], several students were injured to the point that they had to be hospitalized,” denounced a coalition of student groups supporting the Palestinians at Columbia in an Instagram post.

“I regret that we have come to this,” reacted Minouche Shafik, the president of the university, on Wednesday .

The demonstrators are fighting “for an important cause” but the recent “acts of destruction” carried out by “students and external activists” led her to resort to the police, she explained, also denouncing “anti-Semitic remarks” made during these gatherings.

Other encampments were also dismantled on Wednesday at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the southwest and northern United States, respectively, according to local media.

Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA

Photo: Ryan Sun Associated Press Protesters on campus kneel after their arrest by police.

Biden “should speak out”

For two weeks, actions in support of Gaza have multiplied across the American territory, from California to major universities in the northeast , recalling the demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

Students call on establishments to cut ties with patrons or companies linked to Israel and denounce Washington's support for its Israeli ally.

Unlike other institutions, Brown University in the state of Rhode Island announced that it had reached an agreement with the demonstrators. This provides for the dismantling of their encampment in exchange for a university vote in October on possible “divestment” from “companies that enable and profit from the genocide in Gaza.”

The images of riot police intervening on campuses have toured the planet and are causing strong reactions in the political world, six months before the presidential election in a polarized country.

The White House on Wednesday condemned a “small percentage of students who are causing disorder.”

At a Wednesday rally in Wisconsin former President Donald Trump considered that “New York was under siege last night.” President Joe Biden “should speak out,” he said.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116