Tense standoff at UC Santa Cruz as police tell protesters to leave

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Police and the California Highway patrol moved in early Friday morning at UC Santa Cruz to confront pro-Palestinian protesters. 

About midnight, Santa Cruz police shut down the roadways by the entrances of the university, where protesters have been camped out since last week.

As a result, classes have been online since last week as well, as students and staff have not been able to access classes on campus. 

Just after 1 a.m., CHP officers started breaking down the encampments, while also trying to communicate to protesters to leave the area peacefully.

Many of the protesters have linked arms to make it more difficult to move. They also began singing pro-Palestinian chant songs. 

“Leave the area, back up,” can be heard from some of the officers. 

Video shows some students being walked out of the area by police and placed into zip ties. 

It’s unclear if they were being detained or arrested. 

Officials did not immediately return queries seeking specific information. 

As of 6 a.m., the situation appeared to be a standoff, with dozens of police officers in riot gear facing off with the protesters in a tense but non-violent manner.

But the scene was in no way like what occurred at UCLA, where the protests got violent among demonstrators as well as with police. 

The protesters vowed to stay in place until their demands, including calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, are met.

In an email to the UC Santa Cruz community this week, Chancellor Cynthia Larive said that blocking the only two ways to drive on and off campus has been “extremely dangerous” and has caused “intentional harm” to many students and staff members who can’t get to work, class or access childcare. 

“I imagine that many who are engaging in these protests believe themselves to be well-intentioned individuals who are trying to make change through their spheres of influence,” she wrote. “Those who took part should be aware that their actions carry with them severe penalties — penalties that they should be prepared to receive.”

She reminded protesters that she supports First Amended rights but blocking entrances is unlawful. And that these protests have caused disruptions in the dining hall, causing a reduction in services, as one example. 

“Many campus demonstrations have shown that people can make their voices heard while allowing our mission to continue,” she said.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.