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Violence breaks out at dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protests on UCLA campus

Dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protests happen on UCLA campus
Dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protests happen on UCLA campus 03:17

Dueling demonstrations on the UCLA campus by pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups turned physical Sunday after demonstrators breached the physical barrier the school said it established to separate the groups.

In a statement by UCLA, Mary Osako, vice chancellor for Strategic Communications, said that a group of demonstrators had breached a barrier intended to separate the two groups of protesters. Osako said this resulted in "physical altercations." 

She went on to share:

 "UCLA has a long history of being a place of peaceful protest. We are heartbroken about the violence that broke out."

The two groups included pro-Palestinian protesters and a permitted counterdemonstration by the United Jewish Coalition in partnership with the Israeli American Council (IAC) and other related groups. It was not immediately clear which group had breached the barrier.

The IAC said it wanted to educate people while showing their support to Jewish students on campus. The demonstration started at 11 a.m. and would last for up to two hours.

The IAC said it wanted to host the event after the Oct. 7th attack overseas but was denied a permit at the time. It reapplied this week and was approved after seeing pro-Palestinian encampments on campus.

UCLA Students Set Up Pro-Palestinian Protest Camp On Campus
Pro-Palestinian students occupy an encampment as they demonstrate at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) on April 27, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.  (credit: Qian Weizhong/VCG via Getty Images)

Those encampments calling for a cease-fire in Gaza were originally set up at Royce Hall Thursday and have since grown, though it remains unclear how many people were protesting at the site, and how many of those were students.

Prior to Sunday, UCLA had said the protesters' activity on campus had been mostly peaceful and had not interrupted any campus activities.

Elsewhere, in downtown LA, tensions rose at USC on Saturday. Dozens of police cars converged, with LAPD on alert, and forced the closure of the campus to nonresidents because of a protest that resulted in the vandalism of property, including to the Tommy Trojan statue and fountains, where the words "Say No to Genocide," were spray-painted.

USC officials said in a statement the administration hopes for "a more reasonable response Sunday before we are forced to take further action."

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