At U.C.L.A., Pro-Palestinian Protesters Clash With Police


Pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles, clashed with law enforcement officers on Monday, sometimes physically, as they attempted to occupy outdoor areas and re-establish a protest encampment in the last days of the spring quarter.

More than 20 of the protesters were arrested on Monday night. Some were released after being given misdemeanor citations for disrupting the campus.

The demonstration began earlier Monday in the form of a funeral procession, winding its way through campus as protesters read the names of Palestinians killed during the Israel-Hamas war. It was the latest indication that protesters intended to remain vocal, ahead of commencement ceremonies later this week and a Wednesday decision from the University of California regents about who U.C.L.A.’s next chancellor will be.

The university has experienced a tumultuous spring. Violent attacks by supporters of Israel began on the night of April 30, followed about a day later by the dismantlement of a pro-Palestinian encampment, involving hundreds of arrests.

Administrators had allowed that encampment to stand for days, but on Monday, scores of police officers and private security guards moved in swiftly. In one instance, they rushed in to confront protesters who tried to barricade themselves in a courtyard. In another instance, two officers pointed nonlethal weapons toward protesters as another demonstrator was being arrested and taken into a campus building.

At about 8 p.m., following a dispersal order earlier in the evening, police officers in riot gear from several agencies began detaining people. About 100 protesters remained, chanting at officers.

“Our Student Affairs and Campus Safety teams are on site to help ensure the well-being and safety of our community,” Mary Osako, the university’s vice chancellor for strategic communications, said in a statement on Monday night.

In April, administrators initially took a hands-off approach to the pro-Palestinian encampment that assembled on a signature quad on campus, because they said University of California policies gave wide latitude to peaceful free speech.

But tensions subsequently rose as supporters of Israel established their own space nearby and confronted pro-Palestinian demonstrators. At the same time, pro-Palestinian activists had tried to prevent some students from accessing campus buildings and walkways, according to university officials.

Several days after the encampment was established, counterprotesters attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators, a night of violence that was widely condemned. Campus security guards and law enforcement officers stood by for hours as protesters were beaten and subjected to pepper spray.

University administrators drew harsh criticism for not immediately stopping the attack. The next night, officers ordered protesters to disperse and arrested more than 200 people while tearing down the encampment.

Chancellor Gene Block, who was already set to step down in July, narrowly avoided censure and a vote of no confidence by members of the Academic Senate who were frustrated by his handling of the protest.

The University of California’s biggest employee union, representing about 48,000 academic workers, voted in May to strike over what they said was discrimination against pro-Palestinian speech, based on the response to the encampment. A judge in Orange County Superior Court on Friday put a temporary halt to the strike after the University of California argued it was too disruptive to students.

The protest on Monday came two days before the University of California regents are expected to choose Mr. Block’s successor.

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