Campus Chaos: 1,000 Students Arrested in Anti-Israel Protests

California Highway Patrol officers keep watch at a pro-Palestinian encampment
California Highway Patrol officers keep watch at a pro-Palestinian encampment after it was attacked by counter-protestors at UCLA on May 1, 2024. | Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Over 1,000 students have been arrested across college campuses nationwide amid the surge of anti-Israel protests.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), was forced to cancel classes Wednesday and announced that some campus buildings would remain closed until May 6. The university ordered students to avoid Royce Quad, the site of the most recent violent protests.

On April 30, UCLA students created an encampment on campus grounds in protest of the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict in Gaza. The university published a statement calling the tent gathering “unlawful” and violating university policy.

Non-UCLA affiliates engaged in on-campus protesting were told to leave immediately. Students in the encampment were warned that they may face suspension or expulsion if they did not leave the area.

Just before midnight on April 30, pro-Israel counter-protesters arrived on campus, leading to violence between the two groups, per BBC.

Mary Osako, a UCLA vice-chancellor, called the scene at the encampment “horrific acts of violence,” per BBC.

“We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end,” she added.

Police attempted to separate the groups with barriers; however, agitators pushed through the deterrents.

Pro-Israel protesters were seen throwing fireworks towards the anti-Israel encampment as they huddled together in front of Royce Hall.

At around 1:30 a.m., protesters from both sides, armed with make-shift weapons, began throwing items at each other.

“Armed men now fighting and launching items at each other from either side of the encampment,” reported Anthony Cabassa on X from the scene. “Total chaos, there’s ZERO police presence here.”

Cabassa reported that law enforcement still had yet to show up by 2:10 a.m., as dozens of protesters from both sides required medical attention.

The Los Angeles Police Department allegedly intervened around 3 a.m. and separated the protesters.

“What I witnessed tonight is like nothing I have ever seen in my life,” posted Cabassa on X. “Complete lawlessness, anarchy, bod[ies] dragged away after scuffles, blood, mace after mace after mace spray, fires, explosives, the list goes on.”

In Texas, hundreds of students at the University of North Texas participated in a campus-wide walkout on April 30.

UNT’s Palestine Solidarity Committee organized the walkout. The committee’s student leaders demanded that the university disclose any investments linked to Israel and, if so, divest, per Fox 4 KDFW.

The walkout reportedly did not involve violence or arrests.

Momentum from anti-Israel agitators at the University of Texas in Austin was not halted by the April 29 protest that led to the arrest of 79 on campus.

A statement by UT News reported that 45 of the 79 arrested had no affiliation with UT Austin.

Anti-Israel agitators have been clear in their demands that UT Austin President Jay Hartzell step down from his position, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Over 500 faculty members have signed a letter of no confidence in Hartzell’s ability to manage the school. Hartzell has not responded to the demands.

On the evening of April 30, around twenty anti-Israel agitators gathered outside Hartzell’s home, according to a post by The Daily Texan.

Protesters outside Hartzell’s home can be heard chanting, “Hartzell, Hartzell, you’re a clown,” and “We demand that you step down.”

UT Austin was scheduled to hold another protest on May 1, which garnered so much attention that CapMetro closed its bus stops near the South Mall, where previous demonstrations on campus have been held.

The protest has been postponed and is expected to occur on May 5.

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