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Latest NewsViolence, chaos erupt in US universities as protesters and counter-protesters clash over...

Violence, chaos erupt in US universities as protesters and counter-protesters clash over war in Gaza


Los Angeles, May 2: A brawl erupted at UCLA after a pro-Palestinian encampment was “forcefully attacked” the school's chancellor said on Wednesday, while activists at the University of Wisconsin in Madison clashed with police officers who destroyed their tents, in a day of escalating violence on some college campuses over the war in Gaza.

Fifteen people were injured during the UCLA confrontation, including one person who was hospitalised, according to the president of the University of California system.

The chaotic scenes unfolded on Wednesday after police burst into a building occupied by anti-war protesters at Columbia University on Tuesday night, breaking up a demonstration that had paralysed the school.

Chancellor Gene Block at UCLA said in a statement that “a group of instigators” came on campus on Tuesday to “forcefully attack” the pro-Palestinian encampment, prompting the school to ask for assistance from outside law enforcement.

After a couple of hours of scuffles between duelling demonstrators at the University of California, Los Angeles, police wearing helmets and face shields separated the groups and restored calm.

Later on Wednesday, pro-Palestinian protesters rebuilt a barricade around their encampment. There were no counter-protesters in sight, and law enforcement officers were deployed throughout the campus.

In Madison on Wednesday, police with shields removed all but one tent and shoved protesters, resulting in a scrum. Four officers were injured, including a state trooper who was hit in the head with a skateboard, according to University of Wisconsin police spokesperson Marc Lovicott.

Within hours, protesters had erected more tents at the UW campus.

More than 30 people were arrested, most of them released without charges, but four were charged with battering law enforcement, police said.

Tent encampments of protesters calling on universities to stop doing with Israel or companies that support the war in Gaza have spread across campuses nationwide in a student movement unlike any other this century. The ensuing police crackdowns echoed actions decades ago against a much larger protest movement protesting the Vietnam War.

This is all playing out in an election year in the US, raising questions about whether young voters — who are critical for Democrats — will back President Joe Biden's reelection effort, given his staunch support of Israel.

There have been confrontations with law enforcement and more than 1,300 arrests. In rare instances, university officials and protest leaders struck agreements to restrict the disruption to campus life and upcoming commencement ceremonies.

The clashes at UCLA erupted when the pro-Palestinian protesters tried to expand their encampment late on Tuesday night. Counter-protesters then tried to pull down the parade barricades, plywood and wooden pallets surrounding the encampment. In the chaos, firecrackers exploded.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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