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Pro-Palestinian protesters descend on UCLA campus

Pro-Palestinian protesters march around UCLA campus and take over Dodd Hall
Pro-Palestinian protesters march around UCLA campus and take over Dodd Hall 09:57

UCLA officials called for the dispersal of pro-Palestinian protesters Thursday after a small group of demonstrators used tables, metal fences, plywood and other objects to create a barricade that blocked off a section of campus between Kerckhoff and Moore halls.

The protest came as UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was in Washington to testify before Congress about efforts to combat antisemitism at the university.

By the afternoon, police and security teams were seen scuffling with protesters on campus.

The Los Angeles Police Department assisted the UCLA Police Department as school administration ordered pro-Palestinian protesters to disperse.  KCALNews

"There is reasonable cause to find that demonstrators' activities — including erecting barricades, establishing fortifications, and blocking access to parts of the campus and buildings — are disrupting campus operations," Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck said in a joint statement Thursday with Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety Rick Braziel.

School administrators said demonstrators who did not disperse would face arrest and possible disciplinary action, as well as an order to stay away from campus for seven days.

Despite orders to disperse, protesters continued to march through campus and converged at Dodd Hall around 2 p.m. They made their way inside the building, locking the doors. Students were seen leaving the building amid the chaos, as protesters said they allowed students to enter and exit the building.

By 3 p.m., LAPD officers left the campus as protesters remained and tied cables around the entrance to Dodd Hall. After a few hours, they left the building and gathered at a lawn outside.

Administration said that ultimately, campus police cleared the building. "The campus community belongs to all of us. Let us respect one another's rights as surely as we want our own rights to be respected," Rick Braziel, Office of Campus Security associate vice chancellor said. 

The University of California's policy for handling protests and civil disobedience requires each campus to first seek help from other UC schools before calling in outside law enforcement. 

Block received stiff criticism for the way he handled the encampment clearing at the university at the beginning of May

Block testified Thursday that, in early May, he did not initially call the Los Angeles Police Department and other agencies but said increasing tensions at the encampment led to his decision to do so.

Law enforcement arrested 200 people when they cleared the encampment.

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