UC Irvine: 40% of those arrested at pro-Palestinian protest were not students, school says

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

IRVINE, Calif. – Student organizers at the University of California Irvine held a press conference Thursday following the almost 50 arrests made during a Pro-Palestinian protest Wednesday.

“Standing up against a genocide that should make everyone enraged,” said Sarah Khalil, a student and organizer.

According to a spokesperson from UCI, 47 people were arrested Wednesday including 19 students, 2 staff members, and 19 “non-affiliates”.

The organizers continue to call on the university to divest funds directed to Israel and amnesty for students suspended for protest-related incidents. In addition, they now say they’d like UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman to resign.

RELATED: 50 arrested at UC Irvine pro-Palestinian encampment protest

“These different universities have decided they’d rather spend money having cops on campus than listen to students’ demands about divestment,” said Meryem Kamil, an associate professor at UCI.

The camp-in demonstration at UCI took place for more than two weeks. However, police were called in Wednesday after demonstrators broke-in and barricaded doors to the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall.

“We reclaimed the building for the students,” said Em Wang, a UCI student and organizer. “For the workers who clean the buildings, and the faculty who run the instruction.”

Classes Thursday were remote and campus was quiet. The area where the camp-in took place has been cleaned.

“Nobody is here, it’s super eery,” said one student named Lauren.

“It’s crazy everything is cleared out,” said another student. “[It’s] a lot more peaceful compared to yesterday.”

Protesters and organizers say they’re not done yet but couldn’t disclose what they meant.

“I’m sorry this campus I love so much had to experience this terrible and avoidable situation,” said Chancellor Gillman. “I remain steadfast in my commitment to protecting the rights of all members of our community to express whatever viewpoints they believe are essential for others to hear and engage. And I remain steadfast in my commitment to defend our faculty and students from efforts to prevent them from having the same rights of academic freedom and free speech as everyone else on this campus. My hope is that we can find our way to a culture of peace, mutual respect, and shared commitment to addressing our differences through the norms of scholarly inquiry and debate.”

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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.