Tensions High at UCLA Campus

Law enforcement on the UCLA campus donned riot gear Wednesday evening as they ordered the dispersal of over a thousand people who had gathered in support of a pro-Gaza solidarity student encampment, warning over loudspeakers that anyone who refused to leave could face arrest.

A large crowd of students, members of the community and others gathered on campus steps outside the barricaded area of tents mostly stayed put, sitting as they listened and applauded various speakers and joined in pro-Palestinian chants. Overheard television cameras showed students in the barricaded area passing out goggles and helmets, as well as setting up medical aid stations. A small group of students holding signs and wearing T-shirts in support of Israel and Jewish people gathered nearby.

The law enforcement presence and continued warnings stood in contrast to the scene that unfolded on Wednesday, when counter-demonstrators attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment, throwing fireworks, irritant chemical sprays, poles made of metal and sticks made of wood. Fighting continued for several hours before police stepped in, and no one was arrested. At least 15 protesters suffered injuries, and the tepid response by authorities drew criticism from political leaders as well as Muslim students and advocacy groups.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds joins us live from UCLA campus in Los Angeles to discuss the latest updates.

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