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Israel supporters attack pro-Palestinian groups in LA, 300 Gaza protesters arrested in New York I VIDEO

Supporters of Israel attacked a pro-Palestinian protest camp at the University of California in Los Angeles on Wednesday, while New York's mayor said a pro-Palestinian protest at Columbia University broken up by police had been led by outsiders.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Columbia Updated on: May 01, 2024 22:26 IST
US university protests
Image Source : AP US university protests

Dueling groups of protesters clashed overnight at the University of California, Los Angeles, shoving, kicking and beating each other with sticks after pro-Israel demonstrators tried to pull down barricades surrounding a pro-Palestinian encampment. Hours earlier, police burst into a building occupied by anti-war protesters at Columbia University, breaking up a demonstration that had paralyzed the school.

After a couple of hours of scuffles between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators at UCLA, police wearing helmets and face shields slowly separated the groups and quelled the violence. The scene was calm as day broke. UCLA cancelled classes on Wednesday and urged people to avoid the area where the clashes happened.

“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,” UCLA said in a statement.

Video: Violent clashes erupt between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in LA

On Tuesday night, New York police had arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators holed up in a building at Columbia University and removed a protest encampment that the Ivy League college had sought to dismantle for nearly two weeks.

Around 300 protestors arrested 

Mayor Adams told reporters on Wednesday that around 300 people had been arrested but did not specify how many, if any, were believed to be external agitators. "While those who broke into the building did include students, it was led by individuals who were not affiliated with the university," he said.

Tent encampments of protesters calling on universities to stop doing business with Israel or companies that support the war in Gaza have spread across campuses nationwide in a student movement unlike any other this century. The ensuing police crackdowns echoed the removal decades ago of a much larger protest movement at the school against the Vietnam War.

There have been confrontations with law enforcement and more than 1,000 arrests. In rare instances, university officials and protest leaders struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life and upcoming commencement ceremonies.

UCLA protests 

The clashes at UCLA erupted as counter-protesters tried to pull down parade barricades, plywood and wooden pallets protecting a tent encampment built by pro-Palestinian protesters. Video showed fireworks exploding over and in the encampment.

People threw chairs and other objects. A group piled on one person who lay on the ground, kicking and beating them with sticks until others pulled them from the scrum. People outside the encampment, one draped in an Israeli flag, played recordings of a variety of sounds, including a baby crying and sirens.

Authorities have not detailed injuries.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass called the violence “absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable” in a social media post and said city police were on the scene. California Highway Patrol officers also appeared to join. The university said it requested help. The university tightened security Tuesday after officials reported “physical altercations.”

 New York City police officers entered Columbia's campus 

Later Tuesday, New York City police officers entered Columbia's campus after the university requested help. They cleared a tent encampment, along with Hamilton Hall where a stream of officers used a ladder to climb through a second-floor window. Protesters had seized the Ivy League school building about 20 hours earlier.

“After the University learned overnight that Hamilton Hall had been occupied, vandalized, and blockaded, we were left with no choice,” the school said in a statement. “The decision to reach out to the NYPD was in response to the actions of the protesters, not the cause they are championing."

A few dozen protesters at Columbia were arrested after shrugging off an earlier ultimatum to abandon the encampment Monday or face suspension, inspiring demonstrations on campuses elsewhere. Fabien Lugo, a first-year accounting student who said he was not involved in the protests, said he opposed the university’s decision to call in police.

“This is too intense,” he said. “It feels like more of an escalation than a de-escalation.”

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: It feels like more of escalation than a de-escalation: Student as police arrest over 300 protestors

 

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