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Police dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA amid tense standoff

Officers make arrests as tensions escalate following violent incidents at student protest site


Police at UCLA moved in on Thursday morning to dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment, resulting in numerous arrests and the dispersal of most protesters. The operation followed UCLA's declaration of the camp as "unlawful" and escalated after a violent attack on the camp earlier in the week.

Clad in body armor, helmets, and face shields, officers systematically dismantled barricades and tents while protesters attempted to resist. Flares were deployed, and smoke filled the air as tensions rose between police and demonstrators.

The operation involved multiple fronts, including the use of flash-bang devices and scuffles to clear protesters from Royce Hall. Despite some individuals leaving voluntarily, many remained defiant.

The encampment emerged amid heightened pro-Palestinian activism at universities nationwide, with demands for an end to Israel's actions in Gaza and calls for divestment from companies supporting Israel.

UC President Michael V. Drake announced an independent review of the university's actions and law enforcement response due to "sufficient confusion" surrounding the events.

The standoff continued for hours, with protesters lining up to block law enforcement and a small number of pro-Israel activists present. Behind barricades, protesters remained anxious but prepared, distributing supplies and expressing their commitment to the cause.

Faculty and staff members expressed solidarity with students, with some willing to face arrest alongside them in defense of their First Amendment rights. The encampment attracted widespread attention and support, reflecting ongoing debates surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and free speech on college campuses.

[Information from the Los Angeles Times]

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