Updated May 6, 2024 - News

Police arrest protesters at UC San Diego's Gaza Solidarity encampment

Protesters hold up signs in support of Palestine during student protests of the war in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinians hold banners at the UCSD encampment on May 5. Photo: Grace Hie Yoon/Anadolu via Getty Images

Police in riot gear raided the "Gaza Solidarity" encampment at UC San Diego early Monday morning, arresting dozens of Pro-Palestinian protesters and clearing out the area.

Why it matters: The clash between police and campus protesters near Geisel Library marked a clear shift in the nature of local demonstrations, which had remained peaceful at UCSD and other campuses.

The latest: University police reported 64 arrests — 40 were students and 24 were either unaffiliated or their relationship with UCSD was unknown.

  • Students who were arrested are facing immediate interim suspension, university officials said.

State of play: University officials said students were given about 10 minutes to disperse around 6am Monday before arrests for unlawful assembly and tent dismantling began, the Union-Tribune reported.

  • "The decision to vacate the site was based on the danger arising from a prolonged event in terms of health, fire, safety and security," the university said in a statement.
  • Police found wooden stakes, propane tanks, metal and plywood shields, aerosol spray cans and a sword in the encampment, according to UCSD.

Zoom in: The raid involved about 200 campus police, the California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the university confirmed to the U-T.

Between the lines: Chancellor Pradeep Khosla signaled the standoff and potential altercation in a public statement Sunday saying the "dangerous" and "illegal encampment" posed an "unacceptable safety and security hazard" and urged participants to "peacefully disperse."

  • "In the last week, the encampment has limited free movement on campus, created a checkpoint for entry into the camp, and denied access to the fire marshal and health inspectors," he said. "As time passes, the threat and potential for violent clashes increases."

Classes at UCSD moved to remote Monday, and all West Campus facilities were closed and all events canceled due to the police activity, the university announced.

  • UC San Diego Central Campus Trolley Station was also temporarily closed.

The big picture: More than 2,000 people have been arrested as pro-Palestinian protests have swept U.S. campuses over the past three weeks.

What's next: Plans for the protesters' next organized demonstration are unclear, but the student group is asking for bail support, as well as no disciplinary action or charges against protesters.

  • The university previously said its communication attempts "have been met with shifting liaisons and claims that the encampment has no organized leadership with whom to reach binding agreements."
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