update deskSchools & Higher Education

UCLA cancels classes after declaring pro-Hamas encampment ‘unlawful’

There were reports of injuries amid violent confrontations between Israel supporters and the pro-Hamas encampment.

The University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: Michael Gordon/Shutterstock.
The University of California, Los Angeles. Credit: Michael Gordon/Shutterstock.

The University of California, Los Angeles canceled all classes for Wednesday after pro-Israel protesters confronted the pro-Hamas encampment there and amid violence directed at Jewish students.

The university library won’t reopen until Monday and the campus’ historic Royce Hall, which was vandalized by pro-Palestinian activists, will remain closed through Friday, UCLA announced. Law enforcement officers were stationed throughout the university’s main campus.

Chaotic scenes unfolded at the campus in the Westwood neighborhood late Monday night and into Tuesday morning as pro-Hamas protesters set up their illegal encampment.

Fights broke out, resulting in injuries, as the campus delayed an action to quell the unrest. An unverified video circulating online shows a pro-Hamas mob allegedly beating a Jewish student.

According to social-media accounts and local reporting, the university and city police were absent from the increasingly violent scene at UCLA.

On Tuesday, the school declared that the encampment “is unlawful and violates university policy,” warning students that if they did not leave they would face arrest, as well as suspension or expulsion.

“Law enforcement is prepared to arrest individuals in accordance with applicable law,” wrote the university administration. Non-UCLA persons are notified to leave the encampment and depart the campus immediately.”

The directive also applies to staff and faculty.

The Hamas supporters released a statement saying that they would not leave, leading to the confrontations late Tuesday night.

The local CBS affiliate reported that earlier Tuesday, clashes broke out between protesters and Jewish students after the encampment blocked their way to the library in the middle of midterms.

“Protesters continued to fight each other well past 11:30 p.m., shooting fireworks at the encampments while melees broke out past the barriers. One of the melees involved a person swinging what appeared to be a skateboard,” the TV station wrote.

Aerial video from the city’s ABC affiliate showed clashes breaking out on the university lawn with objects being thrown on both sides. The smaller pro-Israel group was surrounded by the larger pro-Hamas crowd.

“Protest has continued for more than 90 minutes with no law enforcement presence as brawls escalate in crowd; people are being beaten and kicked, barricades are being used as weapons,” the ABC affiliate tweeted.

California Highway Patrol officers were finally starting to restore order at the UCLA campus in the early morning hours of Wednesday after riots raged for some 3.5 hours without any police intervention. Around seven police units arrived at the campus to quell the violence.

“Horrific acts of violence occurred at the encampment tonight and we immediately called law enforcement for mutual aid support. The fire department and medical personnel are on the scene. We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end,” the school’s vice chancellor said in a statement sent to the Daily Bruin student newspaper.

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