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UCLA cancels classes after overnight clashes between dueling protesters

Protesters erected barricades and plywood for protection while counter-protesters tried to pull them down.
Israel Palestinians Campus Protests
Posted at 4:14 AM, May 01, 2024

Classes have been canceled Wednesday at the University of California, Los Angeles.

UCLA announced the class cancelation on the social media site X, stating: “Due to the distress caused by the violence that took place on Royce Quad late last night and early this morning, all classes are cancelled today. Please avoid the Royce Quad area.”

The clashes at UCLA took place around a tent encampment built by pro-Palestinian protesters. Counter protesters tried to pull down a line of parade barricades, plywood and wooden pallets at the edge of the camp.

Security was tightened Tuesday at the campus after officials said there were “physical altercations” between factions of protesters.

Police have swept through other campuses across the U.S. over the last two weeks, leading to confrontations and more than 1,000 arrests. In rarer instances, university officials and protest leaders struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life and upcoming commencement ceremonies.

The nationwide campus protests began at Columbia in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza after Hamas launched a deadly attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7. Militants killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and took roughly 250 hostages. Vowing to stamp out Hamas, Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the local health ministry, which is run by Hamas.

Police at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

U.S. News

Here's a snapshot of the protests of the war in Gaza happening at US colleges

AP via Scripps News
11:51 AM, Apr 30, 2024

President Joe Biden believes students occupying an academic building is “absolutely the wrong approach,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

Later, former President Donald Trump called into Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News Channel to comment on Columbia’s turmoil as live footage of police clearing Hamilton Hall aired. Trump praised the officers.

“But it should never have gotten to this,” he told Hannity.

As cease-fire negotiations appeared to gain steam, it wasn’t clear whether those talks would inspire an easing of protests.

Israel and its supporters have branded the university protests as antisemitic, while Israel’s critics say it uses those allegations to silence opposition. Although some protesters have been caught on camera making antisemitic remarks or violent threats, organizers of the protests, some of whom are Jewish, say it is a peaceful movement aimed at defending Palestinian rights and protesting the war.

On Columbia’s campus, protesters first set up a tent encampment almost two weeks ago. The school sent in police to clear the tents the following day, arresting more than 100 people, only for the students to return.

Negotiations between the protesters and the college came to a standstill in recent days, and the school set a deadline for the activists to abandon the tent encampment Monday afternoon or be suspended.

Instead, protesters defied the ultimatum and took over Hamilton Hall early Tuesday, carrying in furniture and metal barricades.

Ilana Lewkovitch, a self-described “leftist Zionist” student at Columbia, said it’s been hard to concentrate on school for weeks. Her exams have been disrupted with chants of “say it loud, say it clear, we want Zionists out of here.”

Lewkovitch, who is Jewish, said she wished the current pro-Palestinian protests were more open to people like her who criticize Israel’s war policies but believe there should be an Israeli state.