Protesters set up new pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA

A pro-Palestinian encampment is seen cordoned off by stanchions on the UCLA campus on April 28, 2024. A second encampment has emerged on campus after the first one was removed. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

May 24 (UPI) -- Pro-Palestinian protesters set up a new encampment at UCLA, prompting swift response from authorities.

The organizers called themselves on Instagram Students for Justice in Palestine and posted images establishing an encampment near Kerckhoff Hall on Thursday. Even with police moving onto campus to stop the protesters at Kerckhoff and Moore halls, the group moved to another part of campus.

Campus security personnel surrounded the growing encampment with the help of police officers from Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Los Angeles Police went on a tactical alert, which allowed them to redeploy resources but it was lifted by Thursday afternoon.

Work and classes at Kerckhoff Hall as well as Ackerman and Moore halls were moved online for Thursday, while other parts of the campus remained open.

Law enforcement then prevented people from joining the encampment and prevented people from delivering food and water to the protesters.

"There is a reasonable cause to find that demonstrators 'activities -- including erecting barricades, establishing fortifications, and blocking access to parts of the campus and building -- are disrupting campus operations,"UCLA Administrative Vice Chancellor Michael Beck and Rick Braziel, associate vice chancellor for campus safety, said in a statement.

"Demonstrators have been informed that if they do not disperse, they will face arrest and possible disciplinary action, as well as an order to stay away from campus for seven days."

Vincent Doehr, a graduate student and union member, charged that it was the administration that created unsafe conditions on campus, not the demonstrators.

"It's a very fraught, violent environment that the administration has created here," Doehr told the Los Angeles Times. "The disruption to campus today is coming from the administration shutting down this entire area due to an encampment that's simply in the courtyard of one building."

The new encampment happened while UCLA Chancellor Gene Block testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee with two other college presidents. He testified to the past demonstrations on campus and accusations of anti-Semitism on campus.