Violent Clash at UCLA Pro-Palestinian Encampment Prompts Class Cancellations, Criticism of Slow Police Response

Violent clash between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters at UCLA leads to class cancellation and criticism of authorities' slow response. Escalating campus tensions over Israeli-Palestinian conflict raise concerns about impact on young voters.

Ayesha Mumtaz
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Violent Clash at UCLA Pro-Palestinian Encampment Prompts Class Cancellations, Criticism of Slow Police Response

Violent Clash at UCLA Pro-Palestinian Encampment Prompts Class Cancellations, Criticism of Slow Police Response

A violent attack by pro-Israel counterprotesters on a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) late Tuesday night has led to the cancellation of classes and criticism of the authorities' slow response. The incident, which involved throwing objects, using pepper spray, and tearing down barriers, left at least 15 pro-Palestinian demonstrators injured.

Eyewitness videos showed the pro-Israel group, estimated at around 50 people, storming the barricades of the encampment on UCLA's Royce Quad. Fistfights and shoving ensued, with some counterprotesters wielding sticks and poles. "It was a horrific act of violence, and it must end," said UCLA Vice Chancellor Monroe Gorden.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council criticized the police for not protecting the pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who fought back against the attackers. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block condemned the violence but did not provide details on why the administration and campus police did not intervene sooner, despite the attack lasting for over three hours.

Why this matters: The incident at UCLA is part of a recent wave of escalating tensions and clashes on college campuses across the United States over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These protests, primarily led by students in solidarity with Palestinians, have raised questions about the potential impact on young voters' support for President Biden's pro-Israel stance in the upcoming election.

Similar protests and confrontations have occurred at other universities in recent weeks, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University, where police actions against pro-Palestinian demonstrators have also drawn strong condemnation. The nationwide campus protests began in April in response to Israel's offensive in Gaza, which has killed over 34,000 Palestinians and displaced more than 90% of the enclave's population.

In the aftermath of the attack, UCLA has canceled all classes on Wednesday and is now facing an investigation into its handling of the situation. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass called the violence "absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable," while California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the attack and stated that those engaged in illegal behavior must be held accountable. As tensions remain high, the pro-Palestinian protesters have vowed to continue their demonstration until their demands, which include UCLA divesting from companies linked to Israel, are met.

Key Takeaways

  • Pro-Israel counterprotesters violently attacked pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA.
  • Attack left 15 pro-Palestinian demonstrators injured, prompting class cancellations.
  • Police criticized for slow response, failing to protect pro-Palestinian protesters.
  • Incident part of escalating tensions over Israeli-Palestinian conflict on US campuses.
  • UCLA faces investigation, protesters demand university divest from companies linked to Israel.