Police forces are assisting campus public safety officials on campuses across the United States in response to pro-Palestine protests. From New York to Los Angeles, universities have relied on cities to provide police support in attempts to clear encampments set up on campuses in protest of Israel’s actions against Gaza and in support of Palestinians.

More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested in the last two weeks at universities, including Columbia University and City College of New York, the University of Texas, the University of North Carolina, California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt State University and more, The Associated Press reported. Twenty people were arrested this week during protests at the University of Utah.

Violence between police and protesters escalated Tuesday night, with police using “chemical munition weapons” on demonstrators at the University of Arizona, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Meanwhile, Brown University chose not to ask the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for help from police. The university reached an agreement with pro-Palestine protesters to have the Brown Corporation vote on a divestment measure later this year in exchange for protesters to leave the encampment Tuesday, The Providence Journal reported.

New York

The New York City Police Department stormed a building on Columbia’s campus that was occupied by protesters Tuesday night. The NYPD said it arrested 282 people — 109 at Columbia and 173 at City College of New York.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has come out strongly against protests on campus.

“They are attempting to disrupt our city, and we are not going to permit it to happen,” Adams said at a news conference Wednesday morning, according to ABC 7 New York. “And we’re proud to say they have been removed from the campus. The NYPD is precision policing ensured that the operation was organized, calm, and that there were no injuries or violent clashes.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday that the state had offered universities “support efforts as needed.”

Los Angeles

After reports of violence at UCLA’s campus late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the school was slow to call for help from law enforcement, protesters claim.

Violence broke out at a pro-Palestine encampment on UCLA’s campus before midnight Tuesday when a group of counter demonstrators “arrived on campus and tried to tear down the barricades surrounding the encampment,” leading to campers rallying to “defend the encampment’s perimeter,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Nearly two hours after the initial clash, police officers arrived in riot gear. According to The Associated Press, “the university said it requested help” from the city. However, police did not break up clashes until around 3 a.m., according to a timeline by the LA Times.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass posted on X that the police had arrived on campus, saying “the violence unfolding this evening at UCLA is absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable.”

The editorial board of UCLA’s student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, accused the school of being “complicit in violence inflicted upon protesters” and failing to protect students by allowing the violence to continue before calling the police.

“For hours, UCLA administration stood by and watched as the violence escalated.” The editorial reads, “... Daily Bruin reporters on the scene were slapped and indirectly sprayed with irritants.”

Civil rights groups speak out

The director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the violence in a statement, saying, “Last night’s attack on UCLA students supporting Palestine was only the latest incident of violence against them. In recent days, pro-Israel extremists directed racial slurs and sexual threats at students, spat on a student and released a pack of mice into the encampment.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish Federation Los Angeles stated, “The abhorrent actions of a few counterprotesters last night do not represent the Jewish community or our values.”

Gov. Newsom responds to violence on UCLA campus

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded early afternoon Wednesday in a statement:

“I condemn the violence at UCLA last night. The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence vandalism, or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions — including through criminal prosecution, suspension, or expulsion.”

Newsom’s spokesperson, Izzy Gardon, said the governor’s office deployed the California Highway Patrol Tuesday night after the “limited and delayed campus law enforcement responses.”

“The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has been coordinating law enforcement mutual aid requests statewide, including responding for assistance at UCLA throughout the night and early morning,” a statement from the governor’s office reads. “... We stand ready to provide additional mutual aid to local law enforcement and campuses when requested.”

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