University Protest Turns Violent

University Protest Turns Violent

( – A protest against Israel’s war with Hamas became violent at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on April 30. Fights started before 11 p.m. when protesters from opposing groups tried to breach a barricade that was erected on the campus.

UCLA had earlier proclaimed the anti-Israel protesters’ encampment unlawful. They requested that the student protesters take down their tents and leave, or else they would face sanctions from the school.

Hours later, the opposing group, pro-Israel protesters, attempted to disassemble the barricade, and some threw firecrackers at the encampment. Both the anti-Israel and anti-Hamas protesters used pepper spray on each other, as did the journalists reporting on the protests, which led to an increase in fighting.

UCLA’s security officers were watching the violence and soon retreated into a nearby campus building for shelter, refusing to allow the entry of students and journalists. The university did not call for law enforcement until after midnight, two hours after the brawl had begun. The vice chancellor of UCLA, Mary Osako, confirmed the calls for immediate help from law enforcement.

Officers from the LAPD arrived around 1:30 a.m., and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed that they had also received a request for assistance. The Culver City and Santa Monica police were also present to help end the violence.

Osako stated to the media that medical personnel and the fire department were also there to support and treat injured protesters from both groups. Both groups used pepper spray and other irritants, and many of the injured complained of eye injuries. Other protesters used parts of the barricade to defend the encampment.

Karen Bass, the mayor of Los Angeles, condemned violence by all the protesters. She stated that what happened at UCLA was inexcusable as she announced the LAPD’s arrival.

Prior to the violence, the anti-Israel protesters rejected the proclamation that their encampment was illegal. In a statement, they declared their intention to stay until they achieved their listed demands, which included breaking any ties with the LAPD.

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