Pro-Palestinian demonstration in DTLA shuts down busy intersection as protests continue at colleges

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Sunday, May 12, 2024
Pro-Palestinian demonstration in DTLA shuts down busy intersection
A pro-Palestinian demonstration Sunday shut down a busy intersection on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles as protests continue at college campuses around the country.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A pro-Palestinian demonstration Saturday shut down a busy intersection on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

At one point, some demonstrators made their way inside the always-busy Grand Central Market before ending up on the steps of City Hall.

It's not clear if any arrests were made or if the rally was permitted by the city.

The Los Angeles Police Department said the only protest planned logged in their system was for 10 a.m. Saturday by the Democratic Republic of Congo/Palestine at City Hall, but it was unclear if this was the same group.

Pro-Palestinian protesters interrupt UC Berkeley's undergrad graduation

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters interrupted the undergraduate graduation ceremony at UC Berkeley on Saturday.

Cal's campus-wide commencement honoring nearly 7,000 undergraduates, began peacefully inside Memorial Stadium but minutes later things changed. The protests got loud as more pro-Palestinian students joined in, stopping and delaying the ceremony at times to send their message to the crowd.

The protests got louder as more pro-Palestinian students joined in, some of the demonstrators then walked out of the stadium, protesting outside.

Security worked to remove the protesters, but no arrests were made.

Some universities across the country have changed or cancelled commencement in the wake of campus encampments protesting Israel's war with Hamas but Berkeley's graduation went on as planned.

UCLA resumes in-person classes, plaza reopened after removal of encampment

After more than a week of remote learning in the aftermath of pro-Palestinian protests and counterprotests on campus, UCLA announced that the campus returned to regular operations on Saturday.

As students prepared to return, some said the school needs to make sure they feel safe. Former California State Senate Democratic Majority Leader Gloria Romero and others demanded a response to what they described as acts of antisemitic violence on campuses throughout the state.

Some feel the actions by school leaders is unacceptable.

"The people of California, the people of Los Angeles, the parents of the students can have no confidence in the leadership of this university or the university of California system because we're seeing this across the state not just here," said Steve Hilton, a co-founder of Golden Together.

They also want graduation and commencement ceremonies to move forward as planned between June 13 and 16.

Protest planned at Pomona College graduation

Hundreds of protesters plan to converge outside the Shrine Auditorium Sunday, two and a half hours before Pomona College is scheduled to hold its relocated 2024 graduation ceremony.

The decision to move commencement to a venue nearly 40 miles from its main campus was made last week after pro-Palestinian protesters -- who have occupied the original site since May 5 -- refused to move.

"We are deeply grateful for your patience in this extraordinary situation and we look forward to honoring our graduates on Sunday," Pomona College officials said when the relocation was announced. "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience of these changes made to ensure that the Class of 2024 can graduate with their loved ones in attendance. Additional safety measures will be in place and transportation to the venue will be provided for graduates."

The protesters continue to demand that the college divest from Israeli-tied companies and weapons manufacturers.

Individual college department graduations were held Saturday at various locations on the Pomona College campus to avoid the previously erected graduation stage and reception area where dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters remain as part of an encampment.

Large banners reading "The people's campus for Palestine" and the Palestinian flag were seen Thursday still hanging from the commencement stage. Protesters have vowed to remain in place and block graduation activities unless the college commits to divestment.

Pomona College officials responded in a statement issued last Monday saying, in part, "Our students, faculty, staff and alumni hold a range of viewpoints. Throughout the year, college leaders have offered to meet with student protesters and will continue to do so. We will promote safety for all members of our community and pursue our educational mission, considering the full range of viewpoints."

Protest organizers said they refuse to meet with college officials until they agree to "preconditions," including disclosure of the college's Israel-related investments and full amnesty for negotiators and other protesters.

They said 19 students were arrested on April 5 while taking part in a sit-in at the university president's office, which the school said violated college policies.

Meanwhile, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and the Anti-Defamation League filed a complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights alleging Pomona College, and Occidental College, have permitted severe discrimination and harassment of Jewish students in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hundreds of protesters plan to converge outside the Shrine Auditorium Sunday, two and a half hours before Pomona College is scheduled to hold its relocated 2024 graduation ceremony.

City News Service Inc. contributed to this report.