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Pro-Palestine group claims credit for alleged arson at UC Berkeley

The UC Berkeley campus is pictured. A pro-Palestine group claimed credit for an alleged arson on the UC Berkeley campus, saying it was started in retribution for arrests made at UCLA on Monday. The Daily Bruin was unable to confirm who was responsible for the fire. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Dylan Winward

June 13, 2024 6:32 p.m.

This post was updated June 18 at 12:56 a.m.

A pro-Palestine group claimed credit for two alleged arsons on the UC Berkeley campus, saying they were started in retribution for arrests made at UCLA on Monday.

Dan Mogulof, the assistant vice chancellor of communications and public affairs at UC Berkeley, said in an emailed statement that there was a small fire reported outside Koshland Hall Thursday. He added that there was also a small fire set Sunday at the Dwinelle Annex Construction Site.

The Daily Bruin was unable to confirm who was responsible for the fires. Neither fire led to any damage or injuries, and the incidents are being investigated by the California State Fire Marshall in conjunction with UCPD, Mogulof said in the statement.

A press release published 6:17 a.m. on Thursday on IndyBay – a website claiming to be an independent media center – said the “student intifada” decided to light trees and bushes on fire in response to the arrest of a female protester on the UCLA campus. Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA reposted the press release on their Instagram story Thursday afternoon but did not respond to requests for comment.

A similar release was published under a different name on the site at 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, saying that the fire at the construction site was also started in retaliation for policing responses at UCLA. The release also said the move was “phase two” of an ongoing action.

According to a Monday press release by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, a suspect was arrested and charged with multiple felonies – including possession and use of destructive devices and arson – and bail has been set at $1 million. The arrest follows an investigation from government departments including UCPD, San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

While Mogulof declined to comment on specific safety plans, he said in the statement that UCPD was working on protecting campus safety.

“The department is, as always, prioritizing the safety of the campus community, and therefore will not hesitate to change staffing levels and/or security protocols when warranted by events and/or intelligence about possible threats,” he said in the statement.

This is a developing story, and we will update with more information as it becomes available.

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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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