Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests, scuffles at UCLA (2024)

Hundreds of students have been arrested across universities in the United States, with scuffles reported between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian demonstrators at UCLA, as rallies for a ceasefire in Gaza and divestment from companies linked to Israel spread across US campuses.

The pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California at Los Angeles has expanded in recent days, but counter-protesters have also become increasingly vocal and visible.

Keep reading

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Columbia University’s Shafik rebuked over Gaza crackdown but avoids censure

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Pro-Palestine student protests spread in second week of demonstrations

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From LA to NY, pro-Palestine college campus protests grow strong in US

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Are US campus protests against Israel’s war on Gaza going global?

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On Sunday, the mood turned ugly when some demonstrators broke through a barrier that had been set up to separate the two factions, according to Mary Osako, UCLA’s vice chancellor for strategic communications.

People from both sides then pushed and shoved each other, shouting slogans and insults and in some cases trading punches. Campus police armed with batons eventually separated the sparring groups.

Osako said the university was “heartbroken” about the violence and had introduced additional security measures.

“As an institution of higher education, we stand firmly for the idea that even when we disagree, we must still engage respectfully and recognize one another’s humanity,” she said in a statement. “We are dismayed that certain individuals instead chose to jeopardize the physical safety of the community.”

While the Los Angeles police were not called in at UCLA and no arrests were made, officers in other parts of the country were deployed to campuses on Saturday, with some using chemical irritants and Tasers to disperse the students, as the protests spread.

In Boston, police detained about 100 people while clearing a protest camp at Northeastern University, with social media posts showing security forces in riot gear and officers loading tents onto the back of a truck.

In a statement on X, Northeastern said the area on campus where the protests were held was now “fully secured” and “all campus operations have returned to normal”.

The university said its move came after “what began as a student demonstration two days ago was infiltrated by professional organisers with no affiliation to Northeastern”. It added that detained individuals who produced a valid student ID were released and will face disciplinary proceedings, not legal action.

Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests, scuffles at UCLA (1)

Northeastern said that “Kill the Jews” had been heard at the protests, and that such chants “crossed the line”, making it necessary to clear waht it said was an “unauthorized encampment” that had been “infiltrated” by professional organisers with no affiliation to the university.

— Northeastern U. (@Northeastern) April 27, 2024

However, members of the pro-Palestinian protest movement at the university rejected those claims.

Video posted from the site appeared to show that people holding Israeli flags were the ones using the slur.

VIDEO: Outside provocateurs holding Israeli flags chanted "Kill the Jews!" Pro-Palestine Northeastern students at the encampment sought to de-escalate. Northeastern admin need to apologize for false claims – news outlets need to issue corrections.

— Working Mass (@DSAWorkingMass) April 27, 2024

In Bloomington in the Midwest, the IndianaUniversity Police Department arrested 23 people as they cleared a campus protest camp, the Indiana Daily Student newspaper reported.

On the opposite side of the country, the Arizona State University Police Department arrested 69 people for trespassing after the group set up an “unauthorised encampment” on campus.

Arizona state officials said a protest group, “most of whom were not ASU students, faculty or staff”, set up a camp on Friday and ignored repeated orders to disperse.

Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests, scuffles at UCLA (2)

Meanwhile, at Washington University in St Louis, at least 80 people were arrested, including US presidential candidate Jill Stein and her campaign manager.

Across the US, university leaders have tried, and largely failed, to quell the demonstrations, which have often seen the police intervening violently, with videos emerging from different states showing hundreds of students – and even faculty members – being forcefully arrested.

The protesters have demanded amnesty for students and faculty members disciplined or fired for protesting. About a week ago at Columbia University in New York, more than 100 pro-Palestinian activists were arrested.

What started at the Columbia campus has turned into a nationwide showdown between students and administrators over pro-Palestine protests and the restrictions on free speech.

In the past 10 days, hundreds of students have been arrested, suspended, put on probation and, in rare cases, expelled from colleges, including Yale University, the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University and the University of Minnesota.

A few universities have had to cancel graduation ceremonies, while others have seen their buildings occupied by the protesters.

Students taking ‘big risks’

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Princeton University in New Jersey, said “the price of protests can be high” for the students occupying college campuses.

“Students are taking some big risks at these protests. If they violate university rules, they can be expelled. And here at Princeton, tuition is over $50,000 a year,” he said. “For many of them, it’s an education they have been looking forward to all their lives.”

Princeton student Sam Bisno told Al Jazeera taking such risks showed how “passionate” students were about the issue. “People are willing to put it all on the line. But we know we have the power in numbers,” he said.

Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests, scuffles at UCLA (3)

Momodou Taal was among four students whom Cornell University in New York state “temporarily suspended” on Saturday for setting up an encampment on its campus.

He told Al Jazeera the protesting students received threats and were subjected to doxxing, the posting of the personal information of an individual on the internet without their consent. He said such students received no protection from their institutions.

“We no longer have faith in the administration to be a place safe for Muslim students, for Arab students, for Palestinian students and by and large those students of colour and pro-Palestinian students,” Taal said.

Maysam Elghazali, an organiser of the protests at Emory University in Atlanta, said the demonstrating students had three demands.

“Number one, that Emory disclose all of its financial investments. Number two, that they divest from all Israeli companies, and number three, that they provide continued amnesty and protection to all the students who were unjustly arrested,” she told Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, college protests against the “genocide” of the Palestinians in Gaza have also spread to universities in Canada, Europe and Australia.

Canada’s first campus protest camp for Gaza appeared at McGill University in Montreal on Saturday.

Broadcaster CBC reported protesters were demanding McGill and Concordia universities “divest from funds implicated in the Zionist state as well as [cut] ties with Zionist academic institutions”.

Tents were also set up on the front lawn of the University of Sydney last week.

In a statement Vice Chancellor Professor Annamarie Jagose said the university, Australia’s oldest, was committed to the right of protesters to assemble peacefully and express their views.

But she said there was also “zero tolerance for any form of racism, threats to safety, hate speech, intimidation, threatening speech, bullying or unlawful harassment, including antisemitic or anti-Muslim language or behaviour.”

Hundreds of students arrested in US Gaza war protests, scuffles at UCLA (2024)


How many protesters were arrested at UCLA? ›

At UCLA overnight, 210 people were arrested when officers cleared an on-campus encampment in a chaotic scene, officials said. New York City officials said that a significant number of people arrested this week at campus demonstrations were not affiliated with the schools.

What happened at the UCLA protest? ›

Protesters at UCLA remain the morning after hundreds were arrested at the campus. The following day, local authorities declared the demonstrations an "unlawful assembly." Police officers in riot gear used flashbang grenades to clear out the encampment and arrested more than 200 people.

What happened at the UCLA campus? ›

Police removed barricades and began dismantling a fortified encampment of pro-Palestinian demonstrators early Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles after hundreds of protesters defied police orders to leave and about 24 hours after counter-protesters attacked the tent encampment on the campus.

Who attacked the students at UCLA? ›

Who attacked the UCLA encampment? The encampment at UCLA saw violence on Wednesday night when a pro-Israel group attacked. Protesting students from UCLA were assaulted with pepper spray, sticks, stones and metal fencing. The pro-Israel attackers also hurled fireworks into the encampment.

Why did UCLA protest? ›

April 25-30: UCLA protest establishes itself

Protesters called for an end to the war in Gaza and for UCLA to be more transparent about its financial ties with arms manufacturers and with Israel.

What is the crime rate of UCLA? ›

UCLA Overall Categorization of Crime and Safety Incidents

That works out to 22.02 incidents per 1,000 students, considering that the student body population is 44,371.

Why is the USC protesting? ›

USC, a private university, has been the subject of student protests over the war in Gaza as well as the administration's decision to cancel a commencement speech by the valedictorian, a Muslim student who had expressed support for Palestinians.

How do counterprotesters at UCLA? ›

The violence had been instigated by dozens of people who are seen in videos counterprotesting the encampment. The videos showed counterprotesters attacking students in the pro-Palestinian encampment for several hours, including beating them with sticks, using chemical sprays and launching fireworks as weapons.

What is one thing UCLA is known for? ›

UCLA's research prowess is a driving force behind its academic excellence, as the institution actively promotes pioneering research across multiple disciplines. 1. Nobel Laureates: UCLA takes immense pride in its history of producing Nobel laureates.

How many students at UCLA are homeless? ›

In our survey, the proportion reporting literal homelessness at some point in their time at UCLA was 6%. By comparison, just 0.5% of Angelenos are known to be homeless at any given time, with perhaps 2% experiencing homelessness over a 3 year period.

Who went to UCLA that is famous? ›

In addition to Ralph Bunche, you might consider Jackie Robinson, Lew Alcindor, Arthur Ashe, and Bill Walton to be shining examples of the Bruin athletic legacy. Originally Answered: Who is the most successful UCLA alumni? Wikipedia has a whole page of famous UCLA Alumni, including seven Nobel laureates.

How many police are at UCLA? ›

The 64 sworn police officers are joined by 40 full-time civilian department members in order to maintain campus safety.

How many people were arrested in California? ›

Law enforcement agencies in California reported roughly 781,000 arrests in 2022; this translates to a historically low rate of 2,001 arrests per 100,000 residents.

Does UCLA have police? ›

The UCLA Police Department sets a standard of excellence in law enforcement and serves a multicultural, educational environment of over 82,500 faculty, staff and students in Los Angeles.

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