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Police Take Back Lecture Hall From Pro-Palestinian Student Protesters At University of California

Demonstrators react as law enforcement officers deployed to the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) prepare to move into the crowd, after protesters against the war in Gaza surrounded the physical sciences lecture hall, as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Irvine, California, U.S. May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Police took back a lecture hall from pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). They also cleared away a student encampment on the university.  The encampment had stood there for two weeks.

Officers entered the campus after university officials requested them for help. The university officials had declared the protest a “violent protest.”

Chancellor Howard Gillman said the university had been in talks with students. However, it had been unable to reach an agreement to find an “appropriate and non-disruptive” alternative site.

Gillman also made it clear that the university would not divest from Israel. This has been a key demand of the protesters. He added that the encampment protests had violated the civil rights of Jewish students.

Police moved in on the lecture hall just before nightfall. They then engaged in a tense standoff with protesters at the encampment. They removed the students in four hours.

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UCI spokesperson Tom Vasich said there were a “minimal numbers of arrests.” He said the protesters were “begrudgingly cooperative.”

The university said all classes will be held remotely on Thursday. They are asking employees not to come to campus.

UCI protesters had established the encampment next to the lecture hall on April 29. The protests were similar to those at other universities.

The lecture hall was taken over by 200-300 protesters on Wednesday.