UCLA Encampment Cleared, With 130-Plus Arrests

Hundreds of officers moved in on protest camp before dawn
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2024 6:21 AM CDT
Updated May 2, 2024 10:40 AM CDT
Police Start Breaking Up UCLA Encampment
Demonstrators are detained on the UCLA campus Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

This story has been updated with new developments. After hours of threatening arrests over loudspeakers, police began breaking up a pro-Palestinian protest encampment on the UCLA campus before dawn on Thursday. The AP reports that the sound of flash-bangs could be heard as hundreds of officers moved in and started taking down barricades and tents. Hours later, the encampment had been cleared. Authorities said more than 130 arrests were made, NBC Los Angeles reports. The New York Times describes the scene as a "field of ruin," with debris including sleeping bags and pizza boxes strewn around. Some officers could be seen posing for photos with protest signs.

As the police presence on campus steadily grew Wednesday night, a faculty member told the Daily Bruin student newspaper that professors in the encampment planned to be arrested alongside students. Outnumbered LAPD officers retreated after an earlier effort to enter the encampment, KABC reports. At around 3am local time, after police issued warnings for protesters to disperse, the university told students to stay away from Dickson Plaza, the site of the encampment, CNN reports. "The University of California Los Angeles has declared the encampment and all unauthorized tents and structures in Dickson Plaza to be unlawful," a safety alert stated.

The AP notes that the massive police presence on campus Wednesday contrasted strongly with the previous night, when pro-Israel counterprotesters attacked the encampment; it took hours for police to bring the situation under control. Officials including UC President Michael V. Drake are calling for an investigation, the Los Angeles Times reports. "The limited and delayed campus law enforcement response at UCLA last night was unacceptable—and it demands answers," a spokesperson for Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday. As officers moved to clear the encampment, chants from protesters included: "Where were you last night?" (More 2024 campus protests stories.)

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