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UCLA cancels classes after violence erupts on campus between protest groups

UCLA cancels classes after overnight violence
UCLA cancels classes after overnight violence 02:33

UCLA canceled all classes on Wednesday, May 1, after a night of unrest on campus over the war in the Middle East. 

"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," said UCLA officials in a statement.

Police Patrol UCLA Campus After Attack On Student Encampment
A protestor sits along barricades at a pro-Palestinian encampment, the morning after it was attacked by counter-protestors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus, on May 1, 2024. Getty Images

The Los Angeles Police Department arrived overnight at UCLA after violence broke out between two protest groups at a pro-Palestinian encampment early Wednesday morning.

RELATED: Violence erupts at UCLA as pro-Palestinian protesters, counter-protesters clash

Several other law enforcement agencies also arrived to help get the situation under control,  including the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

Video from the scene show counter-protesters storming the barricades of a pro-Palestinian encampment, with people jumping on the barricades set up and hitting people with sticks. 

Fireworks were seen being thrown over into the encampment as protesters tore away parts of the wooden barricades surrounding the pro-Palestinian group. Pepper spray was also reportedly deployed, although it was unclear by what group.

LAPD responds to violence at UCLA campus 03:03

The Daily Bruin reports that around 100 pro-Israel protesters, who had been gathering since Tuesday afternoon, approached the barricade around 11 p.m. 

RELATED: Pro-Palestinian encampment blocks UCLA students from entering library during midterms

As violent confrontations between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters escalated, the security guards hired by UCLA retreated into Kaplan Hall. The violence went on for around two hours before police arrived and intervened around 3 a.m.

One man in his mid-20s was taken to the hospital for a head injury around 11:30 p.m. in an unknown condition, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. LAPD requested LADF to be on standby throughout the night, but no other injuries were reported.

Just before 2 a.m., Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass released a statement on X saying, "The violence unfolding this evening at UCLA is absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable."

City Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky, who represents the Fifth District, posted on social media the situation on UCLA's campus is "out of control." 

"Everyone has a right to free speech and protest, but the situation on UCLA's campus is out of control and is no longer safe. I'm grateful to LAPD and Mayor Bass for stepping in to ensure the safety of everyone on campus," said Yaroslavsky on social media.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also released a statement on social media saying his office is closely monitoring the situation at UCLA. "The limited and delayed campus law enforcement response at UCLA last night was unacceptable and it demands answers," said Newsom.

Newsom continued to say, "The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions, including through criminal prosecution, suspension or expulsion."

UCLA, Protest, Israel
Pro-Palestinian protestors and pro-Israeli supporters clash at an encampment at UCLA early Wednesday morning.  Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur, D-Hollywood, whose district includes the campus, also lashed out at UCLA administrators, saying he and his staff have "pled" with the university for adequate security measures to protect students.

"While we continue to gather all the facts, one thing is abundantly clear: the UCLA Administration has failed in their most important duty, to protect the safety, well-being, and civil rights of all students on campus," Zbur said.

University officials insisted for security to be ramped up at UCLA following other clashes that occurred Monday night and Tuesday morning between the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters. The university also issued written warning notices to people inside the encampment on Tuesday, saying the gathering is unlawful and could lead to disciplinary action for students, including suspension and expulsion. 

Police Patrol UCLA Campus After Attack On Student Encampment
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers keep watch at a pro-Palestinian encampment, the morning after it was attacked by counter-protestors at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus, on May 1, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.  Getty Images

By mid-morning on Wednesday, the unrest on UCLA campus settled down with no signs of any clashes as a large amount of law enforcement remained at the scene to monitor the situation.

Later Wednesday, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block issued a statement condemning the violence, calling Tuesday night's attacks utterly unacceptable.  

"I want to express my sincere sympathy to those who were injured last night, and to all those who have been harmed or have feared for their safety in recent days. No one at this university should have to encounter such violence. Our student affairs team has been reaching out to affected individuals and groups to offer support and connections to health and mental health resources," Block said in a statement.

Mayor Karen Bass also addressed Tuesday's violence. She emphasized there will be a full investigation into the incidents Tuesday night. "Those involved in launching fireworks at other people, spraying chemicals and physically assaulting others will be found, arrested, and prosecuted, as well as anyone involved in any form of violence or lawlessness," Bass said.   

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