UCLA campus protests erupt into chaos


LOS ANGELES – Chaos has broken out near a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California Los Angeles. A large group of counterdemonstrators in black outfits and white masks entered the campus and tried to tear down barricades around the encampment late on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported.


The pro-Israel counterprotesters had “violently” tried to enter the encampment, according to the Daily Bruin student newspaper. Videos on social media showed fireworks being set off and at least one going into the encampment. “Pro-Israel counterprotesters violently clashed with the pro-Palestine encampment,” the newspaper wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “There are reports of tear gas being used and fireworks being set off in Dickson Plaza.” The clashes reportedly went on for more than two hours before police officers arrived on campus. Dozens of officers were seen marching toward the site of the encampment at around 1:45 a.m. yesterday the Daily Bruin reported

Ananya Roy, a professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography, criticized UCLA’s lack of response to the counterprotesters. “Every night at UCLA, Zionist mobs enact terror on student protesters who are peacefully gathered inside their encampment,” Roy wrote on X. “They do so with impunity. In the meantime, campus messaging criminalizes & penalizes student protesters. Shame on my university.”

UCLA officials on Tuesday declared the encampment “is unlawful and violates university policy” and said that students who did not leave would face arrest and possible suspension and expulsion.

In a statement, the pro-Palestinian student protesters said they would not leave and accused the administration of “attempting to clear us because they refuse to protect us.” “Over the past six days, Zionist aggressors, the vast majority of whom are not UCLA students” have been “incessantly verbally and physically harassing us, violently trying to storm the camp, and threatening us with weapons,” the protesters’ statement said. “Throughout these agitations we have kept each other sage while administration and campus security have done nothing but stand idly by.”

The protesters added: “We will not leave. We will remain here until our demands are met. You justify the mistreatment of students in the encampment in the same way you justify your complicity in the Palestinian genocide. “You portray student organizers and Palestinians on the ground as aggressors while refusing to acknowledge the fascism Zionist militia’s blatant abuse of power both here on campus and in Palestine.”

Student protests across the country have emerged at college campuses across the country in the past two weeks in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza. It began after Hamas launched a deadly attack on southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking roughly 250 hostages. Since then, Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, the AP reported, citing the local health ministry.

The nationwide protests began at Columbia University where students set up an encampment and called on the university to divest from companies tied to Israel. A day later, the school sent in police to clear the tents, arresting more than 100 people. Inspired by the Columbia students, similar encampments have popped up at campuses across the country. Universities have sought to clear out the encampments ahead of commencement ceremonies this month, but while some have continued negotiations, others have turned to force resulting in clashes with police. The number of arrests nationwide has topped 1,000 since those at Columbia on April 18.

On Tuesday night, New York police officers in riot gear stormed a building at Columbia that pro-Palestinian protesters had occupied. Protesters who took over Hamilton Hall early Tuesday said they would not emerge until their demands for divestment, financial transparency and amnesty had been met. They defied a Monday-afternoon deadline the school had set for protesters to leave the tent encampment or be suspended after negotiations between those protesting and the college broke down.