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At least 25 protesters arrested after pro-Palestinian encampments formed on UCLA campus, police say


By Jillian Sykes and Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) — At least 25 people were arrested after setting up multiple pro-Palestinian encampments on UCLA’s campus Monday that police said were unlawful, according to a statement from the UCLA Police Department.

As a result of the encampments, the group damaged a fountain, spray-painted brick walkways, tampered with fire safety equipment, damaged patio furniture, stripped wire from electrical fixtures and vandalized vehicles, police said in the statement.

While protests spread at college campuses this spring denouncing Israel’s handling of its war against Hamas in Gaza, UCLA’s campus turned into 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 caught on camera that night were committed by people outside UCLA – not the university students and faculty who were eventually arrested.

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

The group resisted leaving the area after initial warnings but left after UCPD issued multiple dispersal orders. The protesters relocated to the Kerckhoff patio, where they “set up an unauthorized and unlawful encampment with tents, canopies, and barricades with patio furniture,” police said.

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

Another round of dispersal orders led the group to the courtyard between Dodd Hall and the School of Law, where they set up a third encampment, according to police.

UCLA Associate Professor Graeme Blair, a member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine, said one student went to a hospital after getting wounded by a rubber bullet – which Blair said was fired when students were in the camp near Dodd Hall, the Los Angeles Times reported. Blair, who has participated in the protests, criticized authorities, saying students had been following dispersal orders throughout the evening. CNN has reached out to Blair for comment.

A UC Police representative declined to comment on the arrests or say whether “less than lethal” weapons were used, the Times reported.

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

On Monday evening, about 25 people were arrested around 8 p.m. for willful disruption of university operations, the police statement said.

Those individuals were cited, issued a 14-day stay-away order from UCLA property and released, police said.

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

About 150 protesters remained in the area as of 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Tensions have simmered on the UCLA campus over how the university has responded to protesters and counterprotesters in recent months. Faculty members have been divided over whether Chancellor Gene Block “failed to ensure the safety of our students and grievously mishandled the events.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Amanda Musa contributed to this report.

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