Police dismantle pro-Palestinian camp at California University

Hundreds of police storm site, remove camp and arrest scores of students.

LOS ANGELES: Hundreds of helmeted police swarmed the site of a pro-Palestinian protest at the University of California at Los Angeles early on Thursday, firing flash bangs, arresting defiant demonstrators and dismantling their encampment.
The pre-dawn police crackdown at UCLA marked the latest flashpoint in mounting tensions on U.S. college campuses, where protests over Israel’s war in Gaza have led to student clashes with each other and with law enforcement.
“I’m a student here. I’m an English major,” one student said to television cameras, as police dragged him away. “Please don’t fail us. Don’t fail us.”
Prior to moving in, police urged demonstrators in repeated announcements to clear the protest zone, which occupied a central plaza about the size of a football field.
After massing for hours, officers eventually moved through the area in lines holding batons as protesters – some in white helmets – linked arms, attempting to block their advance.
Live TV footage showed officers taking down tents, tearing apart barricades and removing the encampment, while arrested protesters sat with their hands restrained behind their backs with zip-ties.
Students have rallied or set up tents at dozens of schools in recent days, calling on President Joe Biden, who has supported Israel’s right to defend itself, to do more to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and demanding schools divest from companies that support Israel’s government.
Many of the schools, including Columbia University in New York City, have called in police to quell the protests.
In New Hampshire, police arrested approximately 100 protesters in separate incidents at Dartmouth University and the University of New Hampshire overnight, breaking up encampments.
In Portland, Oregon, police entered the Portland State University library on Thursday morning and began arresting protesters who had barricaded themselves inside since Monday.
Biden broke his silence on the demonstrations on Thursday, saying Americans have the right to protest but not to unleash violence.
“Destroying property is not a peaceful protest,” he said at the White House. “It’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancelling of classes and graduations – none of this is a peaceful protest.”
But Biden also rejected the idea of deploying the National Guard to campuses.
Biden, who is seeking re-election in November against Republican former President Donald Trump, has walked a careful line as he confronts criticism from both the right and the left over his Israel policy.

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