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The UCLA campus being cleaned up following the encampment clearance on May 2, 2024 (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Diaz)

Police Arrest 25 Pro-Palestine Students at UCLA Protest

Protesters were only given 14-day orders to stay off UCLA grounds and then let go

By Evan Symon, June 11, 2024 12:41 pm

Twenty-five protesters were arrested at UCLA on Monday following protests and attempts to build a new encampment on campus, becoming the latest mass arrest of a pro-Hamas rally in California this year.

Since late April, several pro-Palestine, pro-Hamas protests and encampments have turned into mass arrest events in California. The first such event occurred on April 24th when protesters refused to leave an encampment at the USC campus in Los Angeles. Law enforcement subsequently moved in, razing the encampment and arresting 93 protestors, of whom over 50 were students. On April 30th, another 35 students were arrested at Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata when, after a week of occupying 2 buildings on campus, law enforcement officers retook both in a major sweep.

Another encampment bust on May 2nd, this time at UCLA, destroyed one of the largest protester encampments in the country, leading to 210 arrests. Less than a week later, 65 were arrested at UC San Diego. Heading into late May, 50 were arrested at UC Irvine on May 15th, with over a dozen being arrested at UC Berkeley the very next day. With Universities letting out for the spring semester, protests on campus began to dwindle. Protests even moved into city areas. However, campus protests did continue, with over 80 protesters being arrested at UC Santa Cruz last week on May 31st.

Since June 1st, few protests in California have led to arrests. Stanford University saw 13 students arrested earlier this month for blocking police, occupying and vandalizing the President’s office. Another 70 were arrested in San Francisco for entering and briefly occupying the lobby of the Israeli consulate. But most protesters simply dispersed and avoided arrest, such as what happened when the LAPD cleared a protester encampment outside of Los Angeles’ City Hall.

Despite having their previous encampment broken up just last month, protesters on UCLA’s campus began building a new encampment last week. By Monday afternoon, around 100 protesters in total were at the encampment. Seeing that it was getting too big, the University brought police in after declaring the protest an unlawful assembly. Police then asked protesters to move on.

“If you remain in the area as described, regardless of your purpose, in remaining you will be in violation of section 409,” the police warned in a message. “That section of the California Criminal Code carries a potential $1,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to 6 months.”

In a statement, Mary Osako, UCLA’s vice chancellor for strategic communications, added,  “Our Student Affairs and Campus Safety teams are on site to help ensure the well-being and safety of our community.”

25 arrested at UCLA

While that encampment was broken up, protesters simply moved to build a new one. After the protesters, organized by the Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA group, began getting louder, police moved in. By now, around 150 protesters had gathered. However, police moved swiftly, arresting 25 for willful disruption of university operations and 1 for interfering with an officer. While these protesters were only given 14-day orders to stay off UCLA grounds and then let go, police did clear the rest of campus.

As the University of California Board of Regents is expected to pick a replacement for Chancellor Gene Block on Wednesday, with UCLA commencement ceremonies also coming this weekend, protesters are using this week to get final major protests out before the school heads into the summer months.

“University protests are getting their ‘final hurrahs’ as the final campuses with Spring Semesters end,” said researcher Sandy Crane, who studies college protest movements, to the Globe on Tuesday. “We saw that at Stanford earlier this month. And we’re seeing it again with UCLA.”

“Protests are going to more public locations and more direct locations too, as we saw with the San Francisco consulate. That’s where they will be centered on. Generally, protests are weakening. But as incidents in Gaza continue, like the hostage rescue and bombing that just happened, protests will still happen. They just won’t be fueled by a ton of college students anymore, which is what swelled those numbers the last few months. Numbers will go down. However, if the war is still going on in August, protest activity will likely climb right back up as the fall semester resumes. Or if a big incident occurs that draws people out this summer.”

“It explains why police gave them 14 day stay away citations from UCLA. 1, if they break them, then it will be a misdemeanor. 2, by them time it ends, it will nearly be July. School will be long over.”

Police on campus are expected to remain on alert, watching for any more protests through the weekend after commencement ceremonies are over.

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