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Protesters arrested on8k8 ph California campus

舒淇穿洞洞鞋 | 8k8 ph | Updated: 2024-06-22 16:50:37

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, US May 15, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

Classes at UC Irvine (UCI) in California were held remotely on Thursday after 50 people were arrested during a pro-Palestinian protest on the campus that saw police clash with some demonstrators.

All those arrested Wednesday afternoon were taken to the Orange County jail and released on citations, according to the university. At least two people who were taken into custody identified themselves as UCI faculty members, police said.

UCI officials said one student was injured, and three police officers were taken to a hospital. As of Thursday morning, two of the officers had been released, the officials said.

Most of the protesters were arrested after failing to follow a police order to disperse.

A university spokesman said police were called to the campus when about 500 people expanded an encampment that was in front of a lecture hall for weeks, using pop-up tents, wooden pallets, coolers and other supplies. A small group of protesters barricaded themselves inside the building.

Orange County sheriff's deputies and Irvine police, along with other neighboring agencies, responded.

The situation on the campus intensified over the past week after some protesting students received suspension notices from the university, including some who were involved in negotiations with UCI administrators.

Protesters have called for the university to divest itself from investments in companies that profit from the war in Gaza, to disclose the university's assets and investments and to end joint academic programs with Israel, among other demands.

Fourth-year student Sarah Khalil, chair of Students for Justice in Palestine at UCI, said the university's response to Wednesday's protest was "unforgivable" and "irrational".

"We were peacefully protesting against a genocide and having our tuition money going toward murdering the people in Gaza right now," she told the Orange County Register. "And the university decided to call police departments and arrest students, community members and faculty members."

The clearance of the encampment will not end student protests, she said. "We still want divestment, we still want a liberated Palestine, and we're not going to stop until Palestine is free."

On Tuesday, the University of California's chief investment officer, Jagdeep Singh Bachher, announced that investments from companies that students are targeting in their call for divestment total $32 billion, which is nearly one-fifth of the system's overall assets.

Last month, the University of California president said the institutions wouldn't boycott or divest from Israel.

UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said in a statement that although the encampment had violated university policies since being set up in late April, the violations didn't rise to the level requiring police intervention until Wednesday afternoon. He called it "a last resort''.

At the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Wednesday, police arrested 11 people after not moving from the lawn outside the university's law school and to the student union lawn, which was reserved for them.

Police said 10 of those arrested are from Tennessee and one is from Texas. They didn't differentiate between students and non-students.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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