Biden on Campus Riots: ‘Violent Protest Is Not Protected’

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden | Image by Joe Biden/Facebook

President Joe Biden has broken his silence on the ongoing anti-Israel protests that have disrupted college campuses nationwide and led to mass arrests and cancellation of classes.

In a speech Thursday morning from the White House, Biden said that both the right to free speech and the rule of law must be upheld in the face of ongoing protests.

“Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is,” said Biden. “… Destroying property is not a peaceful protest; it’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations — none of this is a peaceful protest.”

The president emphasized that Americans have the right to protest; however, they do not have the right to cause chaos. This is especially true when it comes to interrupting others’ right to get an education.

“I understand that people have strong feelings and deep convictions. In America we protect the right for them to express that,” Biden said. “But it doesn’t mean anything goes.”

Ultimately, Biden said that hate speech and racism of any kind is not an American value.

When asked if the ongoing protests have forced him to reconsider any policies, Biden responded with a simple “no” and walked off stage.

Meanwhile, the anti-Israel protests at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have continued throughout another night.

More than 200 students were arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning after creating yet another encampment on campus grounds for the second night in a row.

There were an estimated 1000 protesters on campus overnight Thursday, according to KNX reporter Collin Rugg.

Los Angeles police arrived on campus around 1 a.m. to disassemble the encampment. They were met with makeshift blockades and a wall of protesters linking arms in an attempt to keep law enforcement out, per X user Anthony Cabassa, who was on the scene.

At around 2:30 a.m., over 100 California Highway Patrol agents arrived on campus to help dismantle the fortified camp.

As the riot police began to break through the protester’s barriers, fights and chaos ensued throughout the night. Law enforcement used pepper spray and flashbangs to break up the crowd. Arrests were reportedly still being made at 6:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

The university deemed the encampment to be “unlawful” in a statement released Thursday, instructing everyone to leave the encampment and surrounding areas until further notice.

Classes at UCLA have moved to remote learning for the remainder of the week. Employees have been encouraged to work remotely as well.

The events mirror similar demonstrations on UCLA’s campus the night before, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Authorities at UCLA believe that not all agitators were students, but rather some were professional protesters, according to Jon Brain of TRT World Now.

“[Authorities are] saying that the tactics used by some of the people resisting in that campus have tactics which would not be known by ordinary students,” said Brain. “[Such as] how to barricade themselves, how to resist the police.”

Similar reports are coming from Columbia University, which has closed indefinitely due to violent protests on Tuesday.

According to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a large percentage of the nearly 300 arrested at Columbia and City College of New York Tuesday night are believed to be outside protesters, not students.

Adams stated that outside agitators were on campus grounds, training student protesters.

“At [Columbia’s] request, we went in and conducted an operation to allow Columbia University to remove those who have turned the peaceful protests into a place where antisemitism and anti-Israel attitudes were pervasive,” said Adams at a briefing Wednesday, speaking of Tuesday night’s arrests.

He said that the exact number of outside protesters arrested is still being determined and that they are to blame for “escalating situations” and creating “chaos.”

“It was about external actors hijacking peaceful protests and [influencing] students to escalate. There’s nothing peaceful about barricading buildings, destroying property, or dismantling security cameras,” said Adams. “We cannot allow what should be a lawful protest to turn into a violent spectacle that … serves no purpose, as I said.”

An anti-Israel protest at the University of Texas at Dallas on Wednesday resulted in the arrest of at least 20, as reported by DX.

UT Dallas issued a notice to protesters on campus that setting up an encampment is not allowed under UT Dallas policy, ordering them to remove all tents and structures or face arrest.

Cruz has remained outspoken about his support for Israel, frequently condemning the ongoing anti-Israel demonstrations.

“It is heartbreaking to watch what is happening,” said Cruz in an interview with Fox. “… This is a result of the sickness that has taken over our universities. This is a result of cultural Marxism that has infiltrated and seized control of the faculty and administration.”

Cruz called upon universities to implement harsher penalties for protesters. He criticized Biden’s lack of response, urging that the National Guard be brought in to shut down protests.

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