Violent clashes break out at UCLA amid dueling demonstrations, police respond to campus

The crowds began dispersing after law enforcement officers moved in.

ByMarc Cota-Robles and staff KABC logo
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Violent clashes break out at UCLA amid dueling demonstrations
Chaos erupted on the UCLA campus overnight between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters at an encampment on campus.

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Police responded to UCLA early Wednesday morning after violent clashes erupted between competing protest groups at a pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus.

People were beaten and hit with sticks as the clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters went on for roughly three hours before police intervened. At times, protesters would use barricades as weapons.

Before police arrived, a group piled on one person who lay on the ground, kicking and beating them until others pulled them out of the scrum.

Find our latest updates on the UCLA protests here | UCLA protesters violently clash for more than 2 hours before law enforcement intervenes

A chaotic scene unfolded at UCLA where clashes broke out on campus.

The violence escalated just before 11 p.m. Tuesday when counter-protesters surrounded the pro-Palestinian encampment. Fireworks were seen being thrown inside the encampment.

The clashes took place just outside a tent encampment, where pro-Palestinian protesters erected barricades and plywood for protection - and counter-protesters tried to pull them down.

Law enforcement did not immediately intervene amid the violence. LAPD officials said they were in contact with campus police before they got involved around 1:30 a.m.

The California Highway Patrol also confirmed it was requested to send units. But more than two hours of clashes passed with no uniformed campus police or LAPD officers on scene.

The officers did not move in to disperse the crowd until around 3 a.m. Once law enforcement moved in, it appeared that the situation calmed down. Mutual aid that responded to the campus were seen pulling out of the area around 4 a.m., including Santa Monica and Culver City police.

It's unclear how many people were injured. The CHP said no arrests were made.

Incidents of violence were breaking out between competing protest groups on the UCLA campus as police maintained their distance.

Officials react to violence on UCLA campus

"The violence unfolding this evening at UCLA is absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable," Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass posted on X. Later in the morning, Bass said she would be returning to Los Angeles early in wake of the incident. She was in Washington D.C.

"Horrific acts of violence occurred at the encampment tonight and we immediately called law enforcement for mutual aid support," Mary Osako, vice chancellor for UCLA Strategic Communications, told the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin.

"We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end," the statement added.

Bass spoke to the university's chancellor and said police would respond to the school's request, according to a post on X from her spokesperson Zach Seidl.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said it was closely monitoring the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.