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Counter-protesters demonstrate against pro-Palestine encampment

Counter-protesters waving Israeli flags push forward against the barricade surrounding an ongoing encampment at Dickson Plaza. Some yelled at students inside, and others got into physical confrontations. (Julia Zhou/Photo editor)

By Anna Dai-Liu

April 25, 2024 11:17 p.m.

Counter-protesters gathered Thursday afternoon and evening in Dickson Plaza, waving Israeli flags to demonstrate against an ongoing encampment in support of Palestine.

The encampment, led by UCLA’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and the UC Divest Coalition, began early that morning – just as the war in Gaza passed its 200th day. Hundreds of community members are calling for the UC to divest from companies associated with Israeli occupation, boycott Israeli academic institutions and sever ties with LAPD, as well as for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Thursday’s protest follows similar encampments at universities across the country, including the University of Southern California and Columbia University, over the past couple of weeks.

Counter-protesters gathered outside the encampment shortly after 2 p.m., some standing on Shapiro Fountain to face members of the encampment. The counter-protesters, wrapped in Israeli flags, chanted “Free the hostages” in opposition to protesters’ calls to “Free, free Palestine.”

Just before 5 p.m., a counter-protester with a sign that read “Israel is not apartheid” entered the encampment. Around 15 minutes later, they got into a shoving match with a protester inside, whose sign read “Israeli BEYOND Horrified by Apartheid State.”

UCLA Student Affairs officers set up a line of bicycles between encampment protesters and counter-protesters shortly after, as members of the encampment linked arms to try to force counter-protesters out. The pushing continued for around 45 minutes, with one counter-protester grabbing an encampment member’s keffiyeh.

More counter-protesters gathered, with nearly 50 people there shortly before 7 p.m. Some waving megaphones shouted at students, who they called “terrorists,” to “show your face.”

By 8:30 p.m., around 30 of the counter-protesters remained, with a dozen of them encircled by members of the encampment.

Around 9 p.m., following aggressive interactions between encampment participants and counter-protesters, a pro-Palestine protester was carried away from Dickson Plaza with a heavily bandaged ankle.

Most of the counter-protesters dispersed by 10 p.m.

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Anna Dai-Liu | Slot editor
Dai-Liu is a 2024-2025 slot editor and a News senior staff writer. She was previously the 2023-2024 science and health editor. Dai-Liu is a fourth-year comparative literature and neuroscience student from San Diego.
Dai-Liu is a 2024-2025 slot editor and a News senior staff writer. She was previously the 2023-2024 science and health editor. Dai-Liu is a fourth-year comparative literature and neuroscience student from San Diego.
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