Pro-Palestinian protesters occupy building, create encampment at UC Irvine

Police responded to the campus of the University of California, Irvine, on Wednesday, where pro-Palestinian demonstrators overtook a building and constructed a barricaded encampment.

Video posted to the Instagram handle “ucidivest” showed protesters hanging banners from the Physical Science Lecture Hall and rushing to pitch tents outside the building at about 2:30 p.m.

In a text message alert, UCI called it a “violent protest” and urged students to avoid the area. “If you are in the area, shelter in place for your safety until further notice,” the university said.

  • UCI Protest
  • UCI Protest
  • UCI Protest
  • UCI Protest
  • UCI Protest
  • UCI Protest

Officers from several law enforcement agencies were seen staging in a campus parking lot and later creating a skirmish line near the demonstrators, who were positioned both inside and outside of the encampment’s wood palette barriers.

UCI canceled classes for the remainder of the day and advised staff to work remotely on Thursday.

The demonstrators are calling for the university to divest from its relationships with Israel over the Jewish state’s military offensive in Gaza following the Oct. 7, 2023, attack by Hamas.

Last week, the university suspended several student protesters for what it called “multiple conduct violations” following another campus demonstration. Some of those suspended were members of a group that had been negotiating with UCI administrators over their demands.

Universities across California and the nation have seen similar demonstrations.

In early May, police at UCLA dismantled an encampment on Royce Quad that had been the site of escalating tensions and violence. A similar scene unfolded at USC, a private university, roughly a week earlier.

Both crackdowns resulted in dozens of arrests.

This is a developing story. Stay with KTLA 5 News for updates.

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