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43 individuals arrested in Parking Structure 2 before pro-Palestine sit-in, rally

Moore Hall, where Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA called for a sit-in early Monday morning, is pictured. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Dylan Winward

May 6, 2024 8:53 a.m.

This post was updated May 7 at 11:06 p.m.

This is a developing story. Follow along for updates.

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

Police arrested 43 people, including students, Monday morning in Parking Structure 2, after calls for a sit-in at Moore Hall.

UCPD Patrol Division Lieutenant Richard Davis said individuals in the parking garage were initially stopped for potential curfew violations, which apply to non-faculty, students and staff. However, Davis then said they were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary – a misdemeanor.

Davis added that students were initially accused of a curfew violation after they refused to show identification proving they were students.

In a post on Instagram early Monday morning, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA called for a sit-in in Moore Hall at 7 a.m. and advised participants to arrive at the building in groups. The sit-in follows the Palestine solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza – which had been in place from April 25 until it was forcibly swept by police Thursday.

Protesters were detained in Parking Structure 2 at some point between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Individuals were loaded onto an LA County Sheriff Department prisoner transport bus and were taken to the Inmate Reception Center around 10 a.m., authorities said.

The university police department also announced that Moore Hall was closed as of around 8 a.m. Other buildings in the area, including Knudsen Hall, were locked around that hour. The university then confirmed in a BruinAlert sent shortly after 8:30 a.m. that classes normally scheduled to be held in the building would be remote for the day. 

The nearly 50 protesters in Moore Hall then moved to Dodd Hall shortly before 8:30 a.m.

In an Instagram Live, a representative of SJP called out law enforcement for having detained the protesters. They also made reference to an imminent Israeli-led invasion of Rafah, a city in the southern Gaza Strip, and ongoing detentions of Palestinian people in Gaza.

“The people of Palestine don’t have time,” the speaker said on Instagram Live. “This is urgent. … We cannot stop here.”

At around 8:30 a.m., police officers moved the speaker recording the Instagram Live to a position where they could not see into the parking lot where individuals were detained.

Mohammad, a media liaison for SJP, who was granted partial anonymity for safety reasons, said the Monday morning protest was designed to disrupt university operations, including classes. Protesters also interrupted a midterm exam in Dodd Hall.

“We are still here to raise awareness for Gaza. We held a sit-in at Moore Hall in order to show that we’re still here,” Mohammad said. “We’re continuously trying to center the voices of the people in Gaza despite the violence that has been enacted on us.”

SJP is planning to disrupt the university’s finances, including through strikes, Mohammad said.

“We are truly sticking to the idea of no business as usual,” they said.

Graeme Blair, an associate professor of political science and member of Faculty for Justice in Palestine, said in a statement sent over text message that he was calling on the university to release protesters on-site rather than transporting them to off-campus locations.

“UCLA students have been detained unjustly on campus this morning,” he said. “We demand their immediate release, unconditionally.”

Bharat Venkat, an associate professor at the Institute for Society and Genetics, as well as of anthropology and history, said he arrived at Parking Structure 2 to support students he believed were wrongly detained.

Venkat added that he believes it is unclear why protesters were detained and under what charges.

“No one will talk to us,” Venkat said. “They won’t let us anywhere near the scene. And this is, again, the third instance of intense brutality that UCLA’s leadership has allowed to happen to our students.”

Mohammad also said SJP is calling for amnesty for student protesters and for the university to pay the medical bills of students who were injured in both the attack on the Palestine solidarity encampment Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and the police dispersal of the encampment Thursday.

The speaker narrating the Instagram Live also continuously verbally harassed a Daily Bruin reporter present at the scene. The speaker had previously been responsible for discriminatory comments about the physical appearance of Jewish people at a rally earlier in the year.

“If they write about me, I’m calling it racist,” the speaker said on Instagram Live.

After leaving Moore Hall and Dodd Hall, individuals congregated in Bruin Plaza at around 9 a.m. to hear speeches from pro-Palestine protesters. In the plaza, students chanted phrases including, “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” and “Free, free Palestine.”

“You can’t arrest a movement. You can’t arrest liberation. You can’t arrest a mass of people that are willing to fight and continue to fight to raise awareness for the people in Gaza and the genocide that has been going on for 212 days,” they said.

Contributing reports by Anna Dai-Liu, Catherine Hamilton and Sharla Steinman, Daily Bruin staff.

 

 

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Dylan Winward | News editor
Winward is the 2024-2025 News editor and an Arts, Copy, Photo, PRIME and Sports contributor. He was previously the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. Winward is a third-year English and statistics student from London in the United Kingdom.
Winward is the 2024-2025 News editor and an Arts, Copy, Photo, PRIME and Sports contributor. He was previously the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. Winward is a third-year English and statistics student from London in the United Kingdom.
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