Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Sweep Across California Universities Amid Gaza Conflict

Growing Wave of Pro-Palestinian Activism Sweeps Through California Universities Amid Escalating Gaza Conflict.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), one of the leading public universities in the United States, to establish a protest encampment in solidarity with Palestinians.

Under the banner of “UCLA Palestine Solidarity Encampment,” organizers voiced their vehement opposition, stating, “We will not be silent while Gaza is being annihilated.”

Comprised of UCLA students, faculty, staff, and community members, the group issued a set of demands, including the call for boycotts against Israeli universities.

Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Sweep Across California Universities Amid Gaza Conflict

In a pointed critique, the organizers highlighted the recent approval of a $26.4 billion aid package by the Biden administration, condemning it as enabling the Israeli military’s actions, particularly in Rafah, where they allege 1.5 million Palestinians are trapped amid conflict.

Demonstrators at UCLA brandished signs with powerful slogans such as “Let Gaza live,” “This is not war, this is genocide,” “Stop the massacres,” and “UCLA says free Palestine.”

Mary Osako, vice chancellor for UCLA Strategic Communications, emphasized the university’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its community while respecting freedom of expression. She stated, “We’re actively monitoring this situation to support a peaceful campus environment that respects our community’s right to free expression while minimizing disruption to our teaching and learning mission.”

Pro-Palestinian Demonstrations Sweep Across California Universities Amid Gaza Conflict

The UCLA rally followed a similar protest at the University of Southern California (USC) the previous day, where over 90 protesters were arrested after clashes with law enforcement.

In response to the ongoing demonstrations, USC announced the cancellation of its main stage graduation ceremony scheduled for May 10.

Additionally, more than 150 students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, staged a pro-Palestine demonstration at the university’s student resource building on Thursday, as reported by local media outlets.

Despite criticism from some U.S. politicians labeling the demonstrators as “anti-Semitic” and the subsequent arrests, pro-Palestinian protests continue to gain momentum on campuses across the country amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

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