Saturday, June 15

Pro-Palestine protesters arrested following protests, encampments on campus


This post was updated June 12 at 9:25 a.m.

27 pro-Palestine protesters were arrested outside Dodd Hall after multiple students and law enforcement officers sustained injuries during Monday protests commemorating Palestinians killed in the Israel-Hamas war.

Over 100 pro-Palestine protesters set up encampments in Dickson Plaza, Kerckhoff Patio and Shapiro Courtyard – in that order – Monday afternoon. The protests follow two previous encampments organized by the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA to demand that the UC divest from companies associated with the Israeli military.

At 2 p.m., protesters gathered in Bruin Plaza and marched through South Campus, carrying a coffin-shaped object and objects painted to resemble bloodied body parts, while reading the names of Palestinians killed in Gaza by the Israeli military. A member of SJP who organized the event said in a speech the protesters would not leave until each “martyr” was honored and their demands were met.

“We demand an end to campus policing and the targeted repression of proPalestine advocacy on campus, and sever all ties with the LAPD, and grant amnesty to students, faculty and staff punished for their pro-Palestinian activism,” a member of SJP said in a speech.

Protesters set up barricades around the entrances to Dickson Plaza around 3:20 p.m. and dyed the water in Shapiro Fountain red. The protesters chanted, “They won’t die in vain” and “They will be redeemed” while listing the names and ages of those who have died.

[Related: Pro-Palestine protesters set up 3rd solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza]

Manal, a graduate student in chemistry who did not give their last name, said the UCLA administration should listen to student activists and answer the protesters’ calls for divestment.

“I’m worried because last time it was bad – we were attacked by both the police and the Zionists,” they said. “Many of us got arrested. Many of us are vulnerable because, among us, there are undocumented students, there are international students, there are students from different minority groups.”

Around 4:07 p.m., a UCPD officer told the Daily Bruin that the encampment in Dickson Plaza had been declared unlawful by UCPD and the UCLA administration. UCPD gave an official dispersal order to the encampment at 5:45 p.m. and said protesters may be subject to arrests and injuries from less-than-lethal weapons if they did not disperse.

Michael Chwe, a professor of political science, said the UCPD’s declaration violated students’ free speech rights.

“Peaceful protest is a very basic constitutional human right,” he said. “The use of violence on a college campus is entirely antithetical to all of our values.”

UCPD officers struck the barriers of the encampment in Dickson Plaza at 5:50 p.m., and protesters began deconstructing the encampment and leaving the site down Janss Steps.

Graeme Blair, a member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UCLA, said in a statement sent via text message that he believes the UC restricted free speech on UCLA’s campus by deploying the police on pro-Palestine protesters.

“Students conducted a peaceful funeral ceremony for the 47,000 dead in Gaza on campus and at every moment complied with police instructions,” he said. “Instead of allowing free debate on our campus, (UC) President (Michael) Drake allowed California law enforcement to come on campus with dangerous weapons to arrest our students. We demand these students are released immediately.”

At 6:15 p.m., protesters marched from Wilson Plaza to Kerckhoff Patio and erected barricades of chairs, tables and wire to block off the patio. Security blocked access to Moore Hall and Kerckhoff Patio once the protesters were inside.

Protesters continued listing out names of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military and chanting, “They will not die in vain” at Kerckhoff Patio.

Private security closed Kerckhoff Hall around 6:20 p.m. and escorted students out of the building.

A teaching assistant instructed students who were preparing to take a final exam in Moore Hall – which is located near Kerckhoff Hall – to leave the building at 6:30 p.m. Students were not permitted reentry by security officers. The TA said they were evaluating other rooms on campus to administer the exam, but the Daily Bruin was unable to confirm if the exam was able to take place in another location.

Tajvir Singh, a third-year political science student, said in an interview from the encampment on Kerckhoff Patio that it was important for protesters to continue to demand the UC to divest and support students who participated in previous protests.

“We’ve got to give relief to these people in the previous protests that were given disciplinary sanctions,” he said. “These are the same people who got assaulted, … and now they’re being slapped with disciplinary sanctions by the school. I think that’s disgusting.”

[Related: Pro-Israel counter-protesters attempt to storm encampment, sparking violence]

At 6:40 p.m., a UCPD lieutenant issued a dispersal order to protesters on Kerckhoff Patio and stated that protesters could be subject to arrest and injuries from less-than-lethal weapons if they did not disperse. At 6:45 p.m., protesters dismantled the tents and barricades on Kerckhoff Patio and began marching to Dodd Hall.

Protesters then barricaded the entrances to Shapiro Courtyard behind Dodd Hall at 7 p.m. and continued listing the names of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. Students taking a final exam in Dodd Hall were asked to leave the building during the middle of their exam around 7:10 p.m.

California Highway Patrol cars entered campus along Dickson Court outside Dodd Hall at 7:25 p.m. LAPD officers in riot gear carrying less-than-lethal weapons formed a line in front of Shapiro Courtyard at 7:50 p.m, joining CHP, the Culver City Police Department and UCPD. 

At 8:02 p.m., police began breaking down barricades to the encampment on the north side of Shapiro Courtyard. 

According to a statement from UCPD, around 8 p.m., approximately 25 protesters were arrested under California Penal Code section 626.4(d), which prevents individuals from remaining on areas of campus that police or university officials have deemed restricted. The individuals were issued 14-day stay away orders from UCLA property, according to the statement.

These detainees included a member of FJP, according to a statement sent over text message from Blair, an associate professor of political science.

On the south side of the Shapiro Courtyard, LAPD prevented pro-Palestine protesters from leaving the encampment at 8:06 p.m. Several protesters attempted to crawl through bushes to escape, and one was detained. Protesters chanted, “Let her go” as police walked the protester through the courtyard.

At 8:38 p.m., a UCPD lieutenant declared the assembly unlawful and ordered all protesters between Dodd Hall and the School of Law – or east or south of the area – to exit within ten minutes. Around 8:41 p.m., at least 30 CHP officers wearing riot gear formed a line in the sunken gardens, pushing protesters away from Dodd Hall. 

Crowds remained on campus as of 11:56 p.m. as protesters waited for all detainees to be released.

“No justice, no peace, no racist police,” the crowd chanted.

At 12:01 a.m., police fired pepper bullets at a crowd between Bunche Hall and Perloff Hall. Crowds then dispersed in response.

Six UCPD personnel and safety officers sustained injuries during the protests, said Rick Braziel, Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus Safety, in a campus-wide email sent Tuesday at 4:31 p.m.

Braziel said in the email the arrested students will be subject to disciplinary actions based on UC Office of the President guidance, which could prevent them from taking final exams and participating in commencement ceremonies. He also said his office is in the process of determining which of the 27 arrestees were students or faculty of UCLA.

The university expects disruptions to continue until the end of commencement ceremonies, Braziel said.

“Rights to free expression will be protected, but we will not tolerate violence,” Braziel said in the email. “The campus community belongs to all of us and we must model the respect we expect to receive from others.”

Multiple students were hospitalized after sustaining injuries from police, according to an Instagram post by SJP shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday. The post further claimed that protesters were trapped inside Shapiro Courtyard by police and were unable to follow the dispersal order given by UCPD.

“They shot rubber bullets as well as tackled, stepped on, and choked students and faculty into detainment,” the post said. “We were forced to crawl our way out through bushes as cops brandished weapons at every single exit. They arrested dozens of students, zip tied them and held them captive in Dodd Hall for hours.”

SJP further condemned the university’s response and promised to continue escalating protests and disrupting until their demands are met.

“Escalate, boycott the university, and student strike. People are dying,” the post said. “Strike graduation, strike finals, strike business as usual.”

This is a developing story, and more information will be added as it becomes available. 

Contributing reports by Anna Dai-Liu, Nicolas Greamo, Gabrielle Gillette, Felicia Keller, Shiv Patel, Aidan Sun, Mia Tavares and Dylan Winward, Daily Bruin staff.

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Alexandra Crosnoe
Sam Mulick

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