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The Latest | Muslim organizations blast UCLA officials, saying they failed to intervene during brawl

May 1, 2024, 4:25 AM | Updated: 7:32 pm

Muslim organizations and students blasted UCLA officials and police in a Wednesday news conference, saying they failed to intervene as students in pro-Palestinian encampment on the Los Angeles campus were verbally harassed, pepper sprayed and beaten during a brawl with counter-protesters earlier in the day.

“The community needs to feel the police are protecting them, not enabling others to harm them,” said Rebecca Husaini, chief of staff for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Speakers disputed the university’s account that 15 people were injured and one hospitalized, saying the number of people taken to the hospital was higher. One student described needing to go to the hospital after being hit in the head by an object wielded by counter-protesters.

Several students who spoke said they had to rely on each other, not the police, for support as they were attacked, and that many in the pro-Palestinian encampment remained peaceful and did not engage with counter-protesters.

Currently:

— Dueling protesters clash at UCLA hours after police clear pro-Palestinian demonstration at Columbia

— Student protesters reach a deal with Northwestern University that sparks criticism from all sides

— How Columbia University became the driving force behind protests over the war in Gaza

— Trump’s comparison of student protests to Jan. 6 is part of effort to downplay Capitol attack

Here’s the latest:

UCLA CHANCELLOR SAYS INSTIGATORS CAME ON CAMPUS

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement Wednesday that “a group of instigators” came on campus to “forcefully attack” the pro-Palestinian encampment, prompting the school to ask for assistance from outside law enforcement agencies.

“However one feels about the encampment, this attack on our students, faculty and community members was utterly unacceptable,” Block said. “It has shaken our campus to its core.”

Block promised the university will conduct a thorough investigation.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY TO HOLD REMOTE EXAMS

The Provost at Columbia University in New York says all final exams and any remaining class sessions should be held remotely for students at its Morningside Heights campus. Any papers, projects or presentations due this week also are being delayed until next week.

The university has been paralyzed by demonstrations, and police have cleared out a building that had been occupied by anti-war protesters.

The university is strongly encouraging students to leave campus and go home early for the semester.

ISRAEL’S AMBASSADOR TO U.N. DENOUNCES CAMPUS PROTESTS

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations denounced ”the murderous cries of the pro-Palestinian mobs” on university campuses across the United States that were calling for the annihilation of Jews and Israelis.

Gilad Erdan said Wednesday that “anti-Semites failed to annihilate us during the Holocaust” and wars that followed and Hamas tried again in its Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel, but they won’t succeed.

He said the protesters represent the Palestinian goal of a single Palestinian state “achieved through repeated Oct. 7ths against Israel and also against Jews.”

Erdan accused most of the 193 U.N. member nations of “collaborating with them and encouraging their racism and antisemitism,” and he blamed the United Nations for spreading “anti-Israel vitriol.”

He called for swift action against faculty backing “this mayhem,” the arrest and expulsion of students “who call for the murder of their peers or use violence,” and for university presidents and professors “to be held accountable for permitting this.”

Erdan spoke at a U.N. General Assembly meeting where the United States was defending its veto last week of a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have paved the way for Palestine’s full membership. The resolution was approved by 12 of the 15 council members with Britain and Switzerland abstaining.

TEXAS JOURNALIST AT CAMPUS PROTEST RELEASED AFTER ARREST ON MISDEMEANOR CHARGES

A Texas journalist who was arrested during a protest on the University of Texas campus was booked and released Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of assault and interference with public duties.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has accused Carlos Sanchez, a photojournalist with Austin television station KTBC, of hitting a state trooper with a camera while covering the April 24 protest. Video on social media showed troopers pulling Sanchez to the ground after he followed a mass of protesters and police. Sanchez had originally faced a felony charge of assaulting a public servant, then was rebooked on misdemeanor charges.

“Let’s call this what it is— blatant retaliation and intimidation,” said Society of Professional Journalists president Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins in a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Gerry Morris, Sanchez’s attorney, said in a statement Wednesday that he looked forward to someone taking a unbiased look at the evidence and exonerating Sanchez. DPS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS ABOUT 170 PEOPLE ARRESTED AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY RECEIVED SUMMONSES

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Wednesday that about 170 of the 280 arrested at Columbia University and nearby City College the night before have received summonses.

The remaining 100 or so cases will be making their way through the court system, with the earliest arraignments later Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.

He said he didn’t yet have a sense how many of those arrested were students and how many weren’t affiliated with the colleges.

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA IN TALKS WITH PROTEST LEADERS

Interim university President Jeff Ettinger said he had “constructive dialogue” Wednesday with student leaders of an ongoing protest.

The protesters are demanding that the University of Minnesota divest from companies that do business in Israel and put out a statement that supports Palestinian students. Ettinger said the planned half-hour meeting stretched for 90 minutes.

University officials have allowed a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” that includes dozens of tents and hundreds of people to remain in the heart of the Minneapolis campus. That’s despite earlier orders by police to disperse.

GEORGIA REPUBLICANS REITERATE SUPPORT FOR FORCEFUL POLICE RESPONSE TO CAMPUS PROTESTS

Georgia Republicans on Wednesday reiterated their support for a forceful police response to campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

Gov. Brian Kemp, before he signed laws related to policing, praised officers for “standing strong and maintaining order in the face of protests and disturbances on our college campuses.”

State troopers have aided local and campus police in breaking up encampments and arresting protesters at Emory University in Atlanta and the University of Georgia in Athens. Emory’s president has since apologized for calling outside officers after police used pepper spray balls, aggressively tackled protesters and used an electrical stun gun to shock at least one protester.

The governor said he supported suspending and expelling student protesters who break laws. “We are not going to allow Georgia to become the next Columbia University,” he said.

Protesters arrested at the University of Georgia were issued interim suspensions and barred from campus without being given a chance to appeal.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR SAYS ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR AT UCLA SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said anyone who engaged in illegal behavior on the UCLA campus should be held accountable, “including through criminal prosecution, suspension or expulsion.”

“The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus,” said the Democratic governor.

His spokesman Izzy Gardon said the California Highway Patrol was deployed to the Los Angeles campus after “unacceptable” delays and limited response from campus police to clashes between dueling groups of protesters.

No one was arrested, and it’s not clear if all the demonstrators were students. The California Highway Patrol has not responded to further questions.

MORE THAN 100 MARCH NEAR COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

More than 100 people, most identifying themselves as Columbia University faculty and staff, marched and chanted near the school’s New York campus Wednesday.

They marched on the eastern side of the campus by Hamilton Hall, where, hours earlier, New York police burst in to break up a demonstration by protesters who had occupied the building.

Many marchers held signs reading “No cops on campus,” and chanted slogans aimed at Columbia University president Nemat Shafik, including “How many kids did you arrest today?”

4 OFFICERS INJURED REMOVING PROTESTERS AT UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN IN MADISON

Campus police spokesperson Marc Lovicott said four officers were injured Wednesday as police tried to remove protesters’ tents from a central square at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Lovicott said a state trooper was hit in the head with a skateboard and three sheriff’s deputies suffered injuries “directly related to the physical resistance from protesters.” At least 34 people were arrested.

Most of those arrested Wednesday were released “with no citation issued,” Lovicott said.

The protesters’ tents and belongings were loaded into a truck and hauled away, but the protesters later erected several new tents on the mall.

The university said camping is prohibited under campus policy and state law.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT EXPLAINS WHY POLICE WERE CALLED

Columbia University’s president released a statement Wednesday morning to members of the college community outlining why she called in police the night before.

Nemat Shafik said protesters taking over an administration building on campus early Tuesday was a “drastic escalation” of the encampment at the college, which “pushed the University to the brink, creating a disruptive environment for everyone and raising safety risks to an intolerable level.”

Shafik, who goes by Minouche, acknowledged the school has a “long and proud” history of activism on campus, but argued those occupying the building committed “acts of destruction, not political speech.”

“I know I speak for many members of our community in saying that this turn of events has filled me with deep sadness. I am sorry we reached this point,” she wrote.

UCLA CANCELS CLASSES FOR THE DAY AFTER CLASHES

Classes were canceled Wednesday at UCLA.

UCLA announced the class cancelation on the social media site X, stating: “Due to the distress caused by the violence that took place on Royce Quad late last night and early this morning, all classes are cancelled today. Please avoid the Royce Quad area.”

The clashes at UCLA took place around a tent encampment built by pro-Palestinian protesters. Counter protesters tried to pull down a line of parade barricades, plywood and wooden pallets at the edge of the camp.

PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS ARRESTED AT 2 ARIZONA CAMPUSES

Police at two campuses in Arizona have cleared out encampments and arrested pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several people were arrested by police in riot gear early Wednesday at the University of Arizona in Tucson after President Robert Robbins directed school officials to “immediately enforce campus use policies.”

And about 20 people were arrested at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff on Tuesday night on trespassing charges. Police dismantled a small fence made of chicken wire as well as nearly two dozen tents.

NEW YORK MAYOR SAYS ‘OUTSIDE AGITATORS’ WERE PART OF PROTESTS

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in an appearance on “CBS Mornings” Wednesday that police had identified organizations and individuals who weren’t university students, but professional agitators.

“Once I became aware of the outside agitators who were part of this operation, as Columbia mentioned in their letter and their request with the New York City Police Department, it was clear we had to take appropriate actions when our intelligence division identified those who were professionals, well trained,” Adams said.

Adams and the NYPD made similar claims before the arrests that the protest had been co-opted by outside agitators, though did not provide specific evidence to back up that contention. While people involved in the Columbia demonstrations acknowledge that some people not part of the college community have participated, they forcefully dispute the idea that outsiders were driving or unduly influencing the protests.

PROTESTERS CLASH AT UCLA AFTER POLICE CLEAR DEMONSTRATORS FROM COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Dueling groups of protesters clashed Wednesday at UCLA, grappling in fistfights and shoving, kicking and using sticks to beat one another.

Hours earlier, police carrying riot shields burst into a building at Columbia University that pro-Palestinian protesters took over and broke up a demonstration that had paralyzed the school while inspiring others.

After a couple of hours of scuffles between pro-Palestinian and counter-demonstrators, police wearing helmets and face shields formed lines and slowly separated the groups. That appeared to quell the violence.

Police have swept through campuses across the U.S. over the last two weeks in response to protests calling on universities to stop doing business with Israel or companies that support the war in Gaza. There have been confrontations and more than 1,000 arrests. In rarer instances, university officials and protest leaders struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life and upcoming commencement ceremonies.

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The Latest | Muslim organizations blast UCLA officials, saying they failed to intervene during brawl