Sat. May 25th, 2024

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In Pre-Dawn Action, Hundreds Of Cops Enter UCLA Amid Huge Students' Protest

The officers muscled their way into the campus in the pre-dawn hours.

Hundreds of police, with shields and batons, have entered the University of California at Los Angeles to disperse a pro-Palestinian protest camp that was attacked by pro-Israeli supporters less that 24 hours ago.

The helmeted police officers worked to remove barriers, wood panels among other objects that served as barriers into the camp after, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The officers muscled their way into the campus in the pre-dawn hours around 3.15 am PDT (3.45 pm IST) to arrest occupants who refused to leave.

When it started around sunset on Wednesday, around 300 to 500 police officers were seen inside the camp while around 2,000 more gathered outside the barriacades when the officers in tactical gear first began filing onto the UCLA campus, Reuters reported quoting a local television.

Police used flash-bang tupe devices that echoed across the campus, as per reports. Some protesters fought back while shouting, “push them back” and flashing bright lights in the eyes of the police.Some of them had been seen donning hard hats, goggles and respirator masks in anticipation of the siege a day after the university declared the encampment unlawful.

In repeated loudspeaker announcements, police asked demonstrators to clear the protest zone before moving in.

The CLASH BEFORE THE CRACKDOWN

A group of masked counter-demonstrators launched a surprise assault on the tent city leading to a violenct clash between the encampment’s occupants. The occupants of the outdoor protest camp, set up last week, had remained otherwise peaceful before the clash, in which both sides traded blows and doused each other with pepper spray.

The confrontation went on for two or three hours into early Wednesday morning before police restored order. A spokesperson for California Governor Gavin Newsom later criticized the “limited and delayed campus law enforcement response” to the unrest as “unacceptable”.

After the clashes, the university said the campus, which enrolls nearly 52,000 students, including undergraduates and graduate scholars, would remain shuttered except for limited operations on Thursday and Friday.

Columbia University Protests

The police action in UCLA came a day after police in New York City arrested pro-Palestinian activists who occupied a building at Columbia University and removed a tent city from the campus of the Ivy League school.

The clashes at UCLA and in New York were part of the biggest outpouring of US student activism since the anti-racism rallies and marches of 2020.

Students have rallied or set up tent encampments at dozens of schools across the US in recent days, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and demanding schools divest from companies that support Israel’s government. Many of the schools have called in police to quell the protests.



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