UC Irvine protest: Pro-Palestine demonstrators arrested after taking over campus building

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

IRVINE, Calif. – The University of California, Irvine is ordering everyone to leave campus as police in riot gear are tearing down a pro-Palestine encampment.

The university’s push to get everyone to leave comes after a shelter-in-place order was initially placed earlier in the afternoon. Now, those who followed the shelter-in-place order are now being asked to get out of UC Irvine’s campus.

SkyFOX over the scene showed a large law enforcement presence as protesters were seen linking together and surrounding the physical sciences lecture hall, which has since been closed off. 

Police declared the protest an unlawful assembly and began making arrests one by one after protesters refused to clear the area.

Some protesters who were arrested and led away told FOX 11 that they had done nothing wrong and were involved in a peaceful protest. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer issued a statement on X noting that failure to disperse after police declare an unlawful assembly is a crime.

Spitzer said “the right to peaceful assembly is a constitutional right and we encourage protesters to exercise their right to peaceful assembly; however, criminal activity which transcends peaceful assembly, including violence and vandalism of any kind, will not be tolerated. Any evidence of criminal activity, including failure to obey lawful orders to disperse, will be investigated and thoroughly reviewed to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.”

Protesters draped banners from a balcony of the building outlining their demands for divestment from Israel. On Instagram, the UCI Divest group says it is “reclaiming the university for Palestine and for the people.” 

SUGGESTED: UCLA protest: Over 200 arrested as pro-Palestine encampment cleared

The group is also demanding that the university rescind suspension notices that were sent last week to some students involved in the protest, including some that were involved in negotiations with UCI officials, City News Service reports.

Suspected counter-protesters, one carrying a large American flag, were also seen near the encampment.

Because this is a University of California school, the campus is under UC police jurisdiction. 

This comes days after pro-Palestinian protesters attempted to disrupt Pomona College’s commencement ceremony over the weekend at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

SUGGESTED: Pro-Palestinian protesters tried to disrupt Pomona College’s commencement in LA

The move to the new location nearly 30 miles away from campus came after Pomona College announced that graduation ceremonies would be held off campus due to concerns over Palestinian supporters expanding an encampment near the commencement stage and the college increasing its security presence on campus.

Meanwhile, all operations at the University of California, Los Angeles returned to “normal” operations Monday after authorities dismantled a pro-Palestinian encampment on the Westwood campus. 

Law enforcement and security guards remain on campus until the foreseeable future as university leaders say they’re at the school to promote safety and monitor conditions as far as continued protests go. 

SUGGESTED: UCLA student sues university over alleged tolerance of ‘campus terrorists’

The pro-Palestinian encampment on UCLA’s campus was cleared May 2, and more than 200 protesters arrested following a nearly nine-hour standoff, bringing an end to a weeks-long protest calling on University of California officials to divest from Israel.

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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.

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