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At least 200 arrested during student protests in Los Angeles

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Police and protesters clash on campus at UCLA. Photo: Ryan Sun / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 02.05.2024 22:04:00

War and conflicts: According to Los Angeles Times 209 people were arrested at UCLA, where the police began to tear down the barricades around the tent camp that the protesters had set up on the night of Thursday local time. The sound of stun grenades – which explode with blinding light – could be heard as police moved in.

The police systematically tore down the barricades of plywood, pallets, metal fences and rubbish bins. Then they started tearing down tents and canopies.

CNN is one of several media that reported that rubber bullets were fired at the demonstrators. It was already known that stun grenades were fired.

In total, more than 2,000 people have been arrested at 35 different universities around the country since the extensive protests began at Columbia University in New York on April 18, according to a count from the Associated Press news agency.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation in connection with the unrest linked to the protests.

There he said that he supports the demonstrators’ freedom of expression, but was at the same time clear that the demonstrations must be carried out without violence and destruction.

– We are not an authoritarian nation where we silence people and crush dissenting opinions, but we are not a lawless country either. We are a civil society, and peace and order must prevail, he said at a press conference in the White House.

He also made it clear that the protests will not make him change his position in connection with the inflamed conflict in the Middle East.

As stun grenades crashed and helicopters flew overhead, many protesters shouted “Where were you last night?” and “Shame on you”.

It referred to what happened during the demonstrations on the night of Wednesday, where large groups of counter-demonstrators came to the scene. When they tried to demolish the camp, violent clashes ensued.

The police waited a long time to break in and calm the mood, which has led to reactions from a number of quarters. Among those who have criticized the police is California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Images of the police’s behavior were simultaneously shown on TV channels in the Middle East – both Arab, Israeli and Iranian. At a university in Baghdad, Iraq, students and staff organized demonstrations of support for Gaza and the American students on Thursday.

At Columbia University in New York, which has been at the center of the Gaza protests, the university administration has decided to close the campus and switch to digital teaching for the rest of the semester, according to NBC News. On Wednesday, the police entered the building that the students had occupied. There have also been clashes between police and demonstrators at a number of other universities in the USA.

– We see prominent academic institutions, historical, cultural and educational institutions infected by hatred and anti-Semitism driven by arrogance and ignorance, he said in a statement.

The statement came after what he calls “threats and hostility” against Jewish students at “universities across the United States.” He also believes that the protests are part of a trend of increasing anti-Semitism.

– We watch with dismay that the atrocities against Israel on 7 October are celebrated and justified, he added.

Student protests have led to clashes between demonstrators and police in large parts of the country.

It was estimated that several thousand people had gathered on the UCLA campus. In addition to the 300–500 protesters in the tented camp, there were many supporters gathered around.

The police made several attempts on Thursday night to break down the barricades around the tent camp, but were stopped by the numerous demonstrators. On the third attempt, they succeeded.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog criticized the demonstrations at American universities on Thursday.

(© NTB)

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