Pro-Palestinian protesters storm lecture hall at University of California, Irvine, police make arrests

At the University of California, Irvine campus, the situation aggravated on Wednesday as a bunch of about several hundred supporters of pro-Palestinian aggregators somehow entered a lecture hall and encircled it, so the school officials say.

Law enforcement officers deployed to the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) detain demonstrators, after protesters against the war in Gaza surrounded the physical sciences lecture hall, as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas continues, in Irvine, California, U.S. May 15, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake(REUTERS)

The Irvine Police Department (IPD) and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) both got a call after University of California Irvine also called for additional assistance from local law enforcement agencies, as mentioned in a campus emergency alert.

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As the situation remains active, law enforcement officials have made several arrests. However, the exact number of individuals detained is currently undisclosed.

Efforts to dismantle the protesters’ barricades have commenced, with police moving to clear the encampment and secure the building.

ALSO READ| UCLA student newspaper editor speaks out after ‘traumatising’ pro-Palestine encampment raid, attacks on reporters

Classes cancelled amid pro-Palestinian protest

University sources confirm that the incident unfolded at the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall around 2:30 p.m. local time. All classes for the day were canceled.

University officials have advised those near the protest to evacuate the area promptly and disregard any previous instructions to shelter in place.

UC Irvine’s statement was clear: “Anyone currently in buildings in the vicinity of the protest are advised to exit buildings & leave area at this time. Please disregard all previous orders to shelter in place. If able, please leave immediately & continue to avoid the protest area until further notice.”

The presence of pro-Palestinian protesters on the UC Irvine campus is not a new development; they have been encamped since April 29.

The recent upheaval is part of a broader wave of nationwide demonstrations that have erupted at over 30 US university campuses, calling for educational institutions to divest from corporations that provide financial backing to Israel.

ALSO READ| Over 1500 protesters arrested across 30 US campuses in just a month. Here are 10 points where things stand now

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the Chief Investment Officer for the University of California, revealed on Tuesday that the investments under scrutiny by the student protesters amount to $32 billion, nearly one-fifth—of the UC system’s total assets.

Last month, the university’s president announced that there would be no boycott or divestment from Israel.

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