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UCLA protests: At least 25 people arrested after pro-Palestinian camps formed on campus, police said



CNN

At least 25 people were arrested after setting up several pro-Palestinian camps on the UCLA campus on Monday, which police said were unlawful, according to a statement from the UCLA Police Department.

As a result of their camps, the group damaged a well, sprayed paint on brick paths, tampered with fire safety equipment, damaged garden furniture, ripped out cables from electrical installations and destroyed vehicles, the police statement said.

As protests against Israel’s handling of the war against Hamas in Gaza spread across college campuses this spring, UCLA’s campus became a scene of brutality on April 30 when violent counterprotesters attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

A CNN analysis found that some of the most dramatic attacks captured on video that night were carried out by people outside UCLA – not the university’s students and faculty who were ultimately arrested.

But on Monday, a group of about 100 people belonging to a student organization registered at UCLA set up camp at the top of the Janss Steps around 3:15 p.m., the UCPD said.

The group refused to leave the area after initial warnings, but left after the UCPD issued several dispersal orders. Protesters retreated to Kerckhoff Terrace, where they “established an unauthorized and unlawful encampment using tents, canopies, and barricades with patio furniture,” police said.

The group also entered Moore Hall and disrupted final exams nearby, police said.

Etienne Laurent/AFP/Getty Images

A pro-Palestinian protester was arrested outside UCLA’s Dodd Hall on Monday.

According to police, another round of dispersal orders led the group into the courtyard between Dodd Hall and the law school, where they set up a third camp.

Graeme Blair, an associate professor at UCLA and a member of the Justice in Palestine faculty, said one student was hospitalized after being injured by a rubber bullet – which Blair said was fired as students were in the encampment near Dodd Hall, the Los Angeles Times reported. Blair, who has participated in the protests, criticized authorities and said students had been following orders to disperse the protests throughout the evening. CNN has reached out to Blair for comment.

A UC police representative declined to comment on the arrests or say whether “non-lethal” weapons were used, the Times reported.

UCLA police did not respond Tuesday to CNN’s request for comment on the arrests or whether rubber bullets were used.

On Monday evening, around 8 p.m., around 25 people were arrested for intentionally disrupting university operations, the police said in a statement.

Those individuals were issued citation requests, banned from UCLA campus for 14 days, and released, police said.

Another person was previously arrested for obstructing a police officer during the setup of the first camp. That person was cited and released, the UCPD said.

By Monday, 10:30 p.m., there were still about 150 protesters in the area.

Tensions have been simmering on UCLA’s campus over the university’s response to protesters and counterprotesters in recent months, with faculty members divided over whether Chancellor Gene Block “failed to ensure the safety of our students and grossly mishandled the events.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Amanda Musa contributed to this report.