LAPD makes more than 90 arrests following pro-Palestinian protest at USC's Alumni Park

Thursday, April 25, 2024
LAPD makes more than 90 arrests after pro-Palestinian protest at USC
More than 90 people were arrested as LAPD officers confronted pro-Palestinian protesters at USC's Alumni Park.

EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- More than 90 people were arrested Wednesday as Los Angeles police in riot gear confronted pro-Palestinian protesters at USC who had been demonstrating throughout the day at the university's Alumni Park.

Dozens of students and non-students began an "occupation" of the park in the morning and issued a list of demands, including university divestment from any organizations that "profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation in Palestine."

Dispersal orders were issued late afternoon, and LAPD officers headed to the university's park to remove protesters who refused to leave.

A chaotic scene unfolded, leading to some confrontations and water bottles getting thrown at police.

WATCH: LAPD moves in to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters at USC

A rally by pro-Palestinian demonstrators turned chaotic at USC's Alumni Park following confrontations between protesters and police.

A core group of about 50 people remained in Alumni Park, apparently prepared to be arrested. Some of them sat in a circle, wearing masks and goggles -- with bottles of what appeared to be milk nearby in apparent anticipation of being pepper-sprayed. Others in the group stood with their arms linked.

Around 6:30 p.m., police began moving in and arresting people in the park. The core group of protesters surrendered peacefully one-by-one. A total 93 arrests were made, the LAPD announced on social media.

There were confrontations earlier in the day when campus police arrived at the park.

Several dozen protesters began an encampment early Wednesday morning. Campus Department of Public Safety officers initially visited the encampment, instructing students not to hang signs, flags or other materials from trees and posts in the park, and warning them not to use megaphones.

Around 11:15 a.m., USC Department of Public Safety officers moved in and began attempting to clear the encampment of tents and signs, leading to a tense confrontation.

The protesters' actions added USC to a growing list of college campuses across the nation that have seen encampments and ongoing protests over the continuing Israel-Hamas war, most notably Columbia University.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators surrounded a USC campus police vehicle during a chaotic protest at the university's Alumni Park.

Alumni Park is scheduled to host the university's already headline-making commencement ceremony on May 10.

Organizers of the USC occupation issued a statement saying the action is "in solidarity with the people of Palestine as they resist genocide and continue in their struggle for liberation."

"The occupation is also in resistance to attempts by USC and other universities to suppress the student movement for Palestine on its campuses, in resistance to the silencing of students that criticize the state of Israel, in resistance to the university administrators and boards of trustees who profit off the genocide of Palestinians."

USC closed the campus to the public Wednesday afternoon and required anyone stopping by to show their ID at the gates.

"The protest on the UPC has ended. However, the campus remains closed until further notice," the university posted on X shortly before 11 p.m. "Students, faculty, staff, and people with business on campus may enter with proper identification."

As of late Wednesday, classes were set to resume as usual on Thursday, although officials noted that the university's individual college deans can exercise their discretion in determining whether to hold courses online or in person on campus.

LAPD says extra patrols will remain in the area through Thursday.

City News Service contributed to this report.