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UCLA chancellor appointment

Thousands of pro-Israel, pro-Palestine protesters demonstrate outside encampment

Protesters aligned with the Israeli American Council are pictured in Dickson Plaza on Sunday morning. (Zoraiz Irshad/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Anna Dai-Liu, Catherine Hamilton, Matthew Royer, Sharla Steinman, and Dylan Winward

April 28, 2024 12:35 p.m.

This post was updated April 28 at 11:45 p.m.

For the Daily Bruin’s full coverage of the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine encampment, see here.

This story is developing. Follow along for updates.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Dickson Plaza after a convergence of four protests began Sunday morning, days after a pro-Palestinian encampment started in front of Royce Hall on Thursday.

The Israeli American Council led the main counter-protest in front of Haines Hall, facing toward the encampment. The protest featured a stage and a screen, funded in part by a GoFundMe that had raised over $67,000 by the start of the protest. The IAC had called its demonstration from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Shortly before 11:30 a.m., a singer began performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem.

Elan Carr, CEO of the IAC, spoke to the crowd, which was filled with Israeli and American flags, afterward.

“We will take back our campuses, from Columbia (University) to UCLA and everywhere in between,” he said.

Speakers also included Dan Gold, executive director of Hillel at UCLA; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League; and Eli Tsives, a first-year theater student and candidate for general representative in the Undergraduate Students Association Council.

The protests began after early morning demonstrations resulted in instances of violence, with counter-protesters attempting to breach the barriers created by students inside the encampment. By 2:40 a.m., members of the encampment had stretched its boundaries to the top of Janss Steps and to the walkway connecting Royce Hall and Haines Hall.

Students inside the encampment also alleged they were threatened with a knife around 1 a.m.

[Related: Counter-protester activity continues through 3rd night of pro-Palestine encampment]

Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA Strategic Communications, said in a statement to the Daily Bruin that the university is heartbroken about violence that occurred earlier Sunday morning.

“This morning, a group of demonstrators breached a barrier that the university had established separating two groups of protestors on our campus, resulting in physical altercations,” Osako said in the statement. “UCLA has a long history of being a place of peaceful protest, and we are heartbroken about the violence that broke out.”

A group representing Standing Together, a movement to bring Jewish and Palestinian people together in pursuit of peace, was also present in Portola Plaza.

On the other side of Dickson Plaza, students inside the encampment remained peaceful and were met with support from another protest led by the Palestinian Youth Movement. The PYM met at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center at 10 a.m. and then marched toward Dickson Plaza but did not enter the encampment.

The protesters demonstrating in support of the ongoing Palestine solidarity encampment broke through the barriers surrounding the pro-Israel counter-protest shortly after 10:30 a.m. The pro-Palestinian protesters flooded the lawn between Haines Hall and Kaplan Hall, chanting, “We will not stop until divest.” 

Ahmad, an organizer with the PYM who did not give their last name, said the group showed up at UCLA to support students engaging in divestment efforts.

“Many of them have been here for days, pushing for the university to divest,” they said. “They’ve withstood harassment from the Zionist repression from the university, and yet they stand tall because they understand that it is of the utmost importance to make it so that there will be no business as usual while genocide happens.”

Some encounters between protesters and counter-protesters turned aggressive, with one Daily Bruin reporter being hit in the face by a flag. By 11:10 a.m, the lawn between the two buildings was completely filled with people.

A Beverly Hills Police Department patrol car parked outside Kaplan Hall was spotted by a Daily Bruin reporter around 12:30 p.m. Two police officers also stood on the roof of Kaplan Hall looking over the protest.

BHPD Lieutenant Reginald Evans said the police presence was requested by UCLA through mutual aid – a program in which city police departments in Los Angeles County are to direct any requests for emergency aid assistance to nearby institutions.

A spokesperson for UCLA said they are looking into whether the university requested the police presence.

Contributing reports by Shaanth Kodialam and Lex Wang, Daily Bruin staff.

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Anna Dai-Liu | Science and health editor
Dai-Liu is the 2023-2024 science and health editor and Copy staff member. She was previously a News staff writer and is currently a third-year neuroscience and comparative literature student.
Dai-Liu is the 2023-2024 science and health editor and Copy staff member. She was previously a News staff writer and is currently a third-year neuroscience and comparative literature student.
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
Hamilton was the 2023-2024 News editor and a Copy staff member. She was previously the 2022-2023 national news and higher education beat editor and a national news contributor.
Matthew Royer | National news and higher education editor
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats and is Copy staff. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
Royer is the 2023-2024 national news and higher education editor. He is also a Sports staff writer on the men’s soccer and softball beats and is Copy staff. He was previously the 2022-2023 city and crime editor and a contributor on the features and student life beat. He is also a fourth-year political science student minoring in labor studies from West Hills, California.
Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Dylan Winward | News editor
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
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