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Local and state officials condemn late response from law enforcement at encampment

Counter-protesters outside the pro-Palestine encampment in Dickson Plaza are sprayed with liquid. (Jeremy Chen/Photo editor)

By Sharla Steinman

May 1, 2024 6:06 p.m.

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

Local and state officials condemned UCLA and law enforcement agencies’ lack of a timely response to a counter-protester attack on the Palestine solidarity encampment Tuesday night.

Fireworks, tear gas and fights broke out around 10:50 p.m. Tuesday and continued into Wednesday morning. Around 100 counter-protesters attempted to break down the barricade surrounding the Palestine solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza. 

Law enforcement did not intervene until shortly after 2:40 a.m. despite Mary Osako, the vice chancellor for strategic communications, previously claiming in a written statement sent at 12:40 a.m. on Wednesday that the university had called law enforcement personnel for immediate support. 

There had been minimal police presence on campus leading up to Tuesday, even though there had been multiple instances since Thursday of counter-protesters antagonizing the encampment.

[Related: Pro-Israel counter-protesters attempt to storm encampment, sparking violence]

State and Federal Officials

Governor of California Gavin Newsom

10:49 a.m. Wednesday via X, formerly known as Twitter: “I condemn the violence at UCLA last night. The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions — including through criminal prosecution, suspension, or expulsion.”

United States Senator Alex Padilla 

1:25 p.m. Wednesday via X: “There is no place in our country for the sort of violence that unfolded at UCLA yesterday. Americans have the right to peaceful protest, but any form of protest that is violent, propagates hate or violates the law cannot be tolerated. I’m in touch with UCLA leadership to ensure that those responsible for the violence are held accountable and to make clear that this must not happen again.” 

U.S. Congress California District 30 Adam Schiff

Wednesday via online press release: “Free speech and passionate disagreement are fundamental to our democracy, and college campuses must be places where those values are both taught and exemplified. But violence, vandalism, and antisemitic harassment and intimidation are not free speech and those engaging in this behavior should be held accountable.

Over the past weeks, from Columbia University to UCLA and far too many campuses in between, many of those demonstrations have turned violent, and created unsafe and wholly unsustainable learning environments for all students. We’ve seen explicit, repeated targeting and intimidation of Jewish students – many of whom have been blocked from entering buildings or called unspeakable things on the basis of their faith and background. This is patently unacceptable and must end.

Jewish students need to both be safe and feel safe on their college campuses. That will never be the case as long as universities allow hateful, antisemitic rhetoric, violence or intimidation to go unaddressed. A university is either safe for everyone and everyone has access to it, or it is not meeting its obligation as an institution of higher learning.

The effort to combat this type of hatred should not be a partisan issue, or be used as a political cudgel. That’s why I voted for the bipartisan Antisemitism Awareness Act – and will always stand firm in condemning and combating antisemitism in all its forms.”

California District 51 Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur 

7:51 a.m. Wednesday via X: “The horrific acts of violence against UCLA students and demonstrators that occurred on campus last night are abhorrent and have no place in Los Angeles or in our democracy. No matter how strongly one may disagree with or be offended by the anti-Israel demonstrators’ messages, tactics, or goals, violence is never acceptable and those responsible must be held accountable.

For days, I have been requesting increased security on campus, after my staff and I witnessed rising tensions between demonstrators and counter-protestors and ourselves felt unsafe on campus. I have pled with the UCLA Administration to take necessary steps to protect students from violence, harassment, and intimidation.

Yesterday, my staff witnessed the violent assault of a Jewish student on campus, just one of many antisemitic incidents that have occurred in the last week and in recent months. Hours later, a violent mob attacked protestors at the encampment with fireworks, pepper spray, and blunt objects, reportedly injuring students and reporters. In both instances, University security failed to prevent the assaults or respond in a timely manner, despite Chancellor Block’s assurances of adequate security on campus.

While we continue to gather all the facts, one thing is abundantly clear: the UCLA Administration has failed in their most important duty — to protect the safety, wellbeing, and civil rights of all students on campus.”

County Officials 

District 3 Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Lindsey Horvath

7:23 a.m. Wednesday via X: “The violence that occurred overnight at UCLA is unacceptable. I am in close contact w/ UCLA administrators, LA County Office of Emergency Management, and Sheriff Luna, and am working to convene leaders to find lasting solutions for all.

For safety to truly be a priority, we must take thoughtful and appropriate steps to protect it. The UCLA community deserves nothing less.”

City Officials

Mayor of LA Karen Bass

3:28 p.m. Wednesday via X: “This morning, I met in person with LAPD, LASD, CHP, CalOES, UCPD and other regional agencies at the UCLA incident command post about the absolutely detestable violence on campus last night. LAPD is supporting regional law enforcement on next steps to ensure our students and campus are safe.

There must be a full investigation into what occurred on campus last night. Those involved in launching fireworks at other people, spraying chemicals and physically assaulting others will be found, arrested, and prosecuted, as well as anyone involved in any form of violence or lawlessness.

I want to make sure the message I delivered to law enforcement and other officials earlier today is clear: Free speech will be protected. Violence and bigotry will not.

I have spoken with Governor Newsom and want to thank him for his continued support.”

LA District 5 Councilmember Katy Young Yaroslavsky 

1:13 a.m. Wednesday via X: “Everyone has a right to free speech and protest, but the situation on UCLA’s campus is out of control and is no longer safe. I’m grateful to LAPD and Mayor Bass for stepping in to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.”


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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.
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