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Biden says ‘order must prevail’ after UCLA Gaza protest camp cleared

Video caption, Dissent, not disorder: Biden speaks at campus protests

US President Joe Biden has urged pro-Palestinian protesters on college campuses to respect the rule of law.

“We are a civil society and order must prevail,” Mr. Biden said from the White House, in his first direct remarks on a wave of student unrest.

Police have arrested more than 2,000 people across the country over the past fortnight at university rallies and protest camps.

That includes 209 arrests Thursday morning at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Hundreds of officers in riot gear marched onto UCLA’s main campus before dawn and evacuated the pro-Palestinian camp.

They set off explosions and flares, loaded protesters onto police buses and tore down barriers and makeshift tents that had been erected on campus a week earlier.

Video caption, Watch: Chaos ensues during protest on UCLA campus in Gaza

In a statement, UCLA called the camp “both illegal and against policy. It led to unsafe conditions on our campus and undermined our ability to carry out our mission.”

“Protesters directly interfered with teaching by blocking students’ paths to classrooms,” he added, while their clashes with pro-Israeli counter-protesters “put too many students in danger.” hazard”.

Addressing nationwide protests hours later, Mr. Biden said: “We are not an authoritarian nation where we silence people or crush dissent. But we are not a lawless country either.

“There is the right to protest but not the right to sow chaos. People have the right to receive an education, the right to obtain a degree, the right to walk across campus safely without fear of be attacked.”

The Uncommitted National Movement, a group of Arab-American voters opposed to Mr. Biden’s re-election campaign this year, accused him of “smearing” anti-war protesters.

“It’s clear that Biden is not listening to the nation’s young people, nor to the more than half a million unengaged voters who are calling on him to change course. We hope he hears us before he is too late,” said leader Abbas Alawieh.

Campus protests in support of Gaza have now spread to nearly 140 universities in at least 45 states, according to a BBC count, and at least six other countries.

Protesters, who are calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza war, are also demanding that academic institutions divest financially from Israel and companies that could profit from the conflict.

Legend, Map of events at UCLA

But many universities have called in the police, with violence breaking out on some campuses, as well as growing reports of anti-Semitic harassment against Jewish students.

Tensions on UCLA’s Westwood main campus erupted Tuesday evening when a masked pro-Israel group broke into the Dickson Plaza tent camp and attacked campers with bats, tear gas and other objects.

Police appeared to act slowly and were criticized by students, observers and some political leaders for their response.

After regaining control of the area on Wednesday, the police established a strict security cordon.

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, Several protesters defied dispersal orders, armed only with hard hats and umbrellas.

Administrators had already declared “an unlawful assembly,” and early Thursday morning, officers intervened.

As police breached the perimeter, some protesters could be seen clenching their arms and using their plywood barriers as makeshift shields, while others wore hard hats and appeared to arm themselves with umbrellas.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she was at an “incident command post” alongside law enforcement officials on campus throughout the operation.

“Harassment, vandalism and violence have no place at UCLA or anywhere else in our city,” she wrote in a statement.

Kenza, a UCLA student involved in the protests (she did not give her last name), told the BBC that the encampment had been “completely peaceful.”

Image source, Getty Images

Legend, In the shadow of Royce Hall, police cleared the space at dawn Thursday.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that we are considered a threat to civil society when the reality is that we have been harassed for a week,” she said.

On-campus operations will be limited Thursday and Friday with all classes moving to remote learning, UCLA said.

A handful of institutions — including Northwestern, Brown, the University of Minnesota and the University of Vermont — have reached agreements with protesters on divestment issues.

But arrests have occurred in the past 24 hours at Yale, Dartmouth, Stony Brook, Portland State, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas at Dallas.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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