Pro-Palestinian protesting arrives at UCLA

Palestinian flags fluttering, outdoors. istockphoto

Pro-Palestinian protestors gathered at UCLA, demanding that UCLA cut ties with Israel and for a ceasefire against Palestine.

The protesting began on April 25 and quickly escalated to vandalism and violence.

Many groups are calling for both transparency in the college’s funding and divestments for the funding that may be going towards Israel.

Universities have investments, endowments and funds that aren’t fully transparent, so students don’t know what colleges are investing their money on, leading to protests and distrust towards the situation.

A group in all black with white masks appeared on campus and attempted to destroy the barricades that protected the encampment of protesters. Protesting campers defended the site from their attackers for several hours.

The counter-protesters threw objects into the camps, at the tents and the protesters, who used pepper spray to defend themselves. There was illegal use of fireworks being shot into the camp as the fight continued.

The attack went on for a total of three hours, until officers from LAPD, California Highway Patrol and other similar agencies ended the violence.

On May 2, after the fights had broken out, UCLA decided to cancel classes and get the encampments removed.

“In the end, the encampment on Royce Quad was both unlawful and a breach of policy,” said Chancellor Block in UCLA Chancellor. “It led to unsafe conditions on our campus and it damaged our ability to carry out our mission. It needed to come to an end … To preserve campus safety and the continuity of our mission, early this morning, we made the decision to direct UCPD and outside law enforcement officers to enter and clear the encampment.”

Cops used flash bangs and rubber bullets against protestors to clear out the encampments. Even as the groups were being cleared out, there was unexpected violence towards innocents on-scene.

“I truly did not expect to be directly assaulted. I know that these individuals–at least the individual who initiated the mobilization against us–knew that we were journalists,” said Daily Bruin News Editor Catherine Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times, speaking on how she had been repeatedly punched and sprayed by an irritant while reporting. “And while I did not think that protected us from harassment, I thought that might have [prevented us from being] assaulted. I was mistaken.”

There were 210 arrests, with police escorting the arrestees in zip ties. Many have called the campus a “warzone” on social media, with on-site medical care and hundreds, if not thousands of people gathered to fight for their cause.

“It was a nightmare,” said John Baird, a CBS News Radio affiliate KNX reporter, on CBS news. “It took [police] more than three hours to clear the camp out.”

UCLA is not the only college to have pro-Palestinian protests. Columbia University and The City College, both in New York, have had many protestors arrested, nearly half of those arrested not affiliated with the schools at all.

Some universities, such as the University of Southern California, have called off graduation entirely due to the concerns regarding protests.

As of today, police have since cleared out the encampments and have stationed patrols to keep an eye out for any more protesters or tents moving in overnight.