This Week's Message 

UCLA: 2,100 anti-war protestors arrested. Zero counter-protestors.

National Campaign for Justice

Earlier this week, violence erupted on the campus of UCLA when pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the peaceful pro-Palestinian encampment with fireworks, chairs, sticks, and chemical spray.

The New York Times examined more than 100 videos filmed by journalists, witnesses, and protesters and found that violence went on for nearly five hours, while campus police mostly hid in a nearby building. Three hours into the melee the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol arrived and then stood 300 feet away for over an hour as the violence continued.

In fact, according to the NYTimes video analysis, “Just four minutes after the officers arrived, counter-protesters attacked a man standing dozens of feet from the officers.” The report goes on:[1]

“Twenty minutes after police arrive, a video shows a counter-protester spraying a chemical toward the encampment during a scuffle over a metal barricade. Another counter-protester can be seen punching someone in the head near the encampment after swinging a plank at barricades. Fifteen minutes later, while those in the encampment chanted 'Free, free Palestine,' counter-protesters organized a rush toward the barricades. During the rush, a counter-protester pulls away a metal barricade from a woman, yelling 'You stand no chance, old lady.'”

A law student interviewed by the Guardian[2] after describing what he saw as a “battle,” said the fighting “reminded me of January 6. It was terrifying.”

Yet, as of today, no one has been arrested for their actions that night, even though the faces of many violent protesters in the videos are clearly visible. Without accountability, counter-protesters will know they can attack with impunity and the violence on campuses will escalate nationwide.

Contact LA District Attorney George Gascón and California Attorney General Rob Bonta and demand prosecution of violent protesters and a full investigation into the police response now. SIGN & SEND

Some anti-war pro-Palestinian protesters have been violent too and others have used rhetoric that threatens or harasses pro-Israel students. And many of the peaceful protesters have broken laws in civil disobedience setting up illegal encampments or even taking over a floor of an entire building.

That’s why more than 2,100 people have been arrested in pro-Palestinian protests on campuses so far, including 200 UCLA students arrested the day after the night time riot.[3]

None of the UCLA arrests were a follow up to the violence of the night before, all those counter-protesters went home free -- no tear gas, no zip ties, no detainment -- nothing. No, the UCLA arrests were of peaceful protesters practicing peaceful civil disobedience on the campus lawn.

Nationwide, the vast vast majority of protests have been peaceful and non-violent, but they have faced standoffs with police in riot gear, using tactical vehicles and flash-bang devices to clear tent encampments and occupied buildings.

The injustice of largely peaceful anti-war protesters being arrested by the hundreds while violent counter-protesters attack encampments for hours, directly in front of law enforcement and no one is even detained, is dangerous. Very dangerous. It’s an invitation to counter-protesters to not be afraid to escalate violence nationwide.

Call on prosecutors in California to arrest the violent UCLA counter-protesters and fully investigate the response and lack of action by law enforcement now.

California Governor Gavin Newsom called the “limited and delayed” response by police at UCLA “unacceptable.” He went on to say “it demands answers.” We agree.

Thank you for sending your messages today.

LeeAnn Hall Director, National Campaign for Justice SUPPORT OUR WORK

[1] How Counterprotesters at U.C.L.A. Provoked Violence, Unchecked for Hours [2] UCLA students describe violent attack on Gaza protest encampment: ‘It was terrifying’ [3] More than 2,100 people have been arrested during pro-Palestinian protests on US college campuses