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The atmosphere on the UCLA campus intensifies as law enforcement directs the dispersal of a sizable gathering in support of Palestine

Demonstrators restores the barriers (Via Jenny Smith/Shutterstock)

Police at UCLA wore riot gear on Wednesday evening as they instructed more than a thousand people to disperse from a pro-Palestinian student encampment. They used loudspeakers to warn that those who didn’t leave could face arrest.

Outside the barricaded area of tents, a large crowd of students, alumni, and residents gathered on campus steps. They listened to various speakers, applauded, and joined in chants supporting Palestine. Television cameras captured scenes of students within the barricaded area distributing goggles and helmets, and setting up medical aid stations.

Nearby, a small group of students displayed signs and wore T-shirts supporting Israel and Jewish people. The strong police presence and repeated warnings were a marked change from the previous night when counter-demonstrators attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment.

They threw traffic cones, used pepper spray, and tore down barriers. Police intervened after several hours of fighting, though no arrests were made. At least 15 protesters were injured, and authorities’ restrained response drew criticism from political leaders, Muslim students, and advocacy groups.

Ray Wiliani, a nearby resident, came to UCLA on Wednesday evening to support the pro-Palestinian demonstrators, stating, “We need to take a stand for it. Enough is enough.”

Demonstrators wave the flag (Via Henry Butler/Getty Images)

Elsewhere, clashes occurred at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where police dismantled tents early Wednesday, and at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where an encampment was removed shortly after pro-Palestinian demonstrators had set it up. Local media reported multiple arrests, including of at least one professor.

Chaotic scenes unfolded early Wednesday at Columbia University, where police broke up an anti-war protest that had occupied a building the previous night, temporarily halting activities at the New York school.

According to an Associated Press count, since April 18, there have been at least 38 instances of arrests at campus protests across the U.S., involving more than 1,600 people at 30 schools.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block mentioned in a statement that the previous night’s attack was carried out by a group of instigators, but did not provide further details about the crowd or the reasons for the administration’s delayed response.

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