Wednesday, July 24

In the news:

Hundreds of protesters detained after police breach pro-Palestine encampment at UCLA

LAPD officers meet protesters amid breach of Palestine solidarity encampment. Police dispersed the encampment Thursday morning, detaining many of its participants in the process. (Brandon Morquecho/Photo editor)

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the LAPD threatened to arrest three Daily Bruin reporters between Royce Hall and Haines Hall on Thursday. In fact, it was the California Highway Patrol that threatened to arrest three Daily Bruin reporters between Royce Hall and Haines Hall.

This post was updated May 5 at 6:55 p.m.

For the Daily Bruin’s full coverage of the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine encampment, see here.

Around 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, students, faculty and staff participants of the Palestine solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza were first ordered to disperse by UCPD. By 1:20 a.m. Thursday, police officers began sweeping the encampment, with their first detainment of a protester occurring at 1:55 a.m.

The encampment received another dispersal notice from authorities at 12:30 a.m. Thursday that could be heard from across Dickson Plaza, urging protesters to exit between Royce Hall and Kaplan Hall. A medic in the encampment said LAPD told medical staff and doctors in the area, who would be treating basic injuries such as pepper spraying, to be prepared by 1 a.m.

“You risk serious injury,” an officer said through the megaphone during the dispersal announcement. 

Police officers in the area entered the encampment via Janss Steps at 1:20 a.m. while individuals remaining in the encampment shouted, “We’re not leaving!” and “Who do you protect?”

The encampment sweep follows counter-protesters’ attacks on the encampment Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Around 100 to 200 counter-protesters attempted to seize the encampment’s barricade and force entry as they launched fireworks, metal barriers and tear gas toward the encampment. On Tuesday, the university released a statement saying the Palestine solidarity encampment was unlawful, and UCLA-affiliated participants may face disciplinary actions such as suspension and expulsion. 

Police presence, mostly consisting of officers from LAPD, steadily increased on campus Wednesday. Thousands of protesters in support of the encampment gathered in Portola Plaza and on the Janss Steps lawn Wednesday evening.

A few hours before the sweep began, Graeme Blair – an associate professor of political science and member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UCLA – said via text message that professors involved in the encampment planned to be arrested alongside students. 

“We are doing this to call attention to the unjust and criminalizing UC decision to call in the police,” he said. “We will support our students until they are released, and then we will be back with them to recenter attention on divestment.” 

Around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 50 police officers filed into the back of Haines Hall as protesters in support of the encampment shouted, “Shame.” A few minutes later, more officers entered Kaplan Hall. 

At approximately 11:20 p.m., more than 60 officers exited Kaplan Hall to line up alongside other officers on Dickson Plaza. At 12:30 a.m. Thursday, California Highway Patrol officers formed another line of reinforcement in front of the encampment barricade.

After around an hour of quiet, pro-Palestine supporters in Portola Plaza began chanting, “Cops go home,” “Peaceful protest” and “Shame on you.” At 1:20 a.m., a loud noise – believed to be from a flash-bang device – echoed through Janss Steps. Around 1,000 pro-Palestine protesters remained by Janss Steps chanting, “Peaceful protest,” while people began leaving the encampment by Powell Library.

A media liaison in the encampment said LAPD officers attempted to push into the encampment by the Fowler Museum starting after 1:30 a.m. Encampment protesters resisted the officers’ entrance with makeshift barricades and shields. 

By 1:45 a.m., LAPD officers and protesters inside the encampment were facing off at Shapiro Fountain. Around the same time, about 100 protesters linked arms at the base of Janss Steps to form a human wall, while chants of “Don’t engage” rang through the area. Thirty police officers marched toward the group of protesters at the base of the steps.

Around 30 more officers wearing riot gear began walking at 1:50 a.m. from Wilson Plaza up the side of Powell Library closed for construction. Police officers began engaging with protesters inside the encampment at the same time.

At 1:55 a.m., police were seen detaining a protester with plastic zip ties at the bottom of Janss Steps as those in the encampment drove officers out of the encampment. The individual was seen being held by police outside Kaufman Hall. 

Officers rushed out of the encampment at 1:55 a.m. Protesters then began refortifying the barrier between the encampment area and the top of Janss Steps.

Around 2 a.m., officers pushed against protesters at the bottom of Janss Steps and yelled “Back up!” while holding up batons. At 2:05 a.m., amid continued chants of “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever,” police officers ran to the opposite end of Wilson Plaza to line up facing Janss Steps. 

By 2:10 a.m., police officers released the protester detained in their custody, and another protester was seen escorting the individual back to the encampment.

Around the same time, two Daily Bruin reporters backed away from the police line as it expanded toward the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center. A group of seven to eight officers started to jog across the line, and one officer held his baton out, backing the reporters against the building. The two reporters retreated safely.

Around 1,000 protesters on and around Janss Steps chanted, “You don’t scare us,” “We’re not leaving” and “LAPD, KKK, IDF, you’re all the same.”

Officers in Wilson Plaza kept marching around the area at approximately 2:30 a.m., panicking the protesters while not indicating organized plans to move into the encampment. 

CHP officers stand facing protesters in Dickson Plaza as the officers prepare to take down the encampment barriers. (Jeremy Chen/Photo editor)

At 2:28 a.m., more than a dozen police cars were seen driving down Charles E. Young Drive West, just past Dickson Plaza. At least 10 uniformed officers were on the balcony of Royce Hall. 

Around 2:35 a.m., CHP prison buses were stationed behind Royce Hall, with hundreds of officers standing around the vehicles. CHP officers entered Dickson Plaza at 2:40 a.m. through the walkway by the Fowler Museum in full riot gear with batons at the ready.

As the officers pressed into the encampment, protesters continued their chants of “Peaceful protest,” “We’re not leaving” and “You don’t scare us.”

In a texted statement to the Daily Bruin at 2:35 a.m., a UC Divest Coalition at UCLA spokesperson said protesters were still maintaining the encampment barriers, as they believed police officers may plan to mobilize from Royce Hall.

By 2:50 a.m., police officers in riot gear had begun to engage with protesters – who chanted, “The people united will never be defeated,” as they pushed back police – in the walkway next to the Fowler Museum.

A BruinAlert sent at 3 a.m. told the campus community, “AVOID THE AREA of Dickson Plaza; Police have ordered an evacuation of Dickson Plaza due to an unlawful assembly.”

By 3 a.m., reporters saw three protesters detained by officers under the bridge between Rolfe Hall and the Anderson School of Management. Around the same time, CHP officers threatened to arrest three Daily Bruin reporters between Royce Hall and Haines Hall. The reporters were able to leave.

CHP officers monitor protesters detained from the encampment. (Myka Fromm/Photo editor)

By 3:05 a.m., a speaker set up in Royce Hall warned people that “regardless of your purpose,” individuals remaining in the area are in violation of the evacuation order and could be faced with arrest.

By 3:15 a.m., the prisoner transport buses near the School of Management left the location. Around the same time, LAPD began to open barriers close to the encampment walls with batons out, as they were poised to attempt to enter. Dozens of students left the encampment between Royce Hall and Haines Hall with their hands raised as police reentered the encampment.

Around 20 officers removed fences, umbrellas and barrier reinforcements near the Royce Hall entrance of the encampment at 3:15 a.m. A protester chanted “Free Palestine” as they walked out of the encampment detained by officers. Daily Bruin reporters in the area confirmed that police detained five protesters, releasing at least one of them, as of 3:20 a.m.

At 3:20 a.m., at least 10 loud noises – believed to be flash-bangs – came in rapid succession from the direction of Dickson Plaza, where officers started to detain people in the encampment. Another burst of the same noises occurred around five minutes later.

As of 3:30 a.m., some protesters were on the ground in the encampment with zip ties around their wrists, surrounded by officers. Daily Bruin reporters identified at least one UCLA professor who was detained in the encampment.

Blair said in a texted statement sent around 3:45 a.m. that student protesters were “violently dragged” from the encampment by CHP officers. He added that some students were visibly injured, and stun grenades were used while officers pointed guns loaded with less-than-lethal rounds at students – both of which faculty present demanded officers cease to use.

“Their blood is on Gene Block and the UC administration’s hands for a series of catastrophic decisions over the last two days,” Blair said in the statement. “It did not need to be this way.”

Blair said he thought the events spurred by officers in Dickson Plaza were disgusting.

“Faculty are standing to bear witness to this unnecessary horror,” Blair said in the statement. “We are prepared to be arrested and expect to be soon.”

Around 300 students remained around Janss Steps after a surge of loud noises, presumably flash-bangs, were heard.

Police continued to detain protesters in the encampment as the clock struck 4 a.m., marking one week since the initial erection of the solidarity encampment by the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA.

At 4:05 a.m., a slew of loud noises presumed to be flash-bangs went off. Dozens of protesters exited the encampment by climbing through the bushes near Powell Library onto the Janss Steps lawn. Protesters chanted “Gene Block, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “We are students,” as smoke from the presumed flash bangs thickened above Dickson Plaza.

Protesters stand behind encampment barriers made of plywood. (Zimo Li/Daily Bruin)

At around 4:40 a.m., officers cleared the area under the Royce Hall arches and pushed protesters back into Dickson Plaza. Dozens of protesters vacated the encampment a few minutes later via Janss Steps, while some carried metal barriers up the steps. Loud noises presumed to be flash-bangs were heard above Janss Steps as protesters chanted, “Long live Palestine” and “Free, free Palestine.”

A line of police officers forced the protesters toward Powell Library. As they did so, one officer removed a Palestinian flag from its upright position in the encampment and threw it across the plaza, leading students to shout, “Leave our campus,” “Zionists” and “Where were you yesterday?”

At around 5:15 a.m., a group of protesters returned to the encampment in Dickson Plaza. However, officers continued to detain protesters one by one, zip tying protesters’ hands behind their backs.

At 5:25 a.m., one protester in the encampment stood up on a pillar at the top of Janss Steps to wave a Palestinian flag as students around them were detained by police officers.

While some protesters surrendered to police when approached, others in Dickson Plaza remained steadfast in their defiance of law enforcement orders of dispersal. Some remained organized in lines chanting in front of police in riot gear.

Outside of Pritzker Hall, at least 50 police officers mobilized against a group of 20 to 25 protesters chanting phrases such as “One, two, three, four, occupation no more, five, six, seven, eight, Israel is a terrorist state,” and “UC, UC, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide.” Officers slowly moved toward the protesters, pushing them back toward Charles E. Young Drive East and Hilgard Avenue.

At 5:50 a.m., the protesters outside of Pritzker Hall dispersed without further police contact.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.

Contributing reports by Daily Bruin staff.

Catherine Hamilton

Royer joined the Bruin and the News section as a first-year transfer student in 2022 and contributed until he graduated in 2024. He was the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor and the 2022-2023 city and crime (metro) editor. He was also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats and was Copy staff. He studied political science and minored in labor studies.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.