UCLA students for Gaza resist violent attacks by cops, Zionists

UCLA students for Gaza face off with an army of cops in the early hours of May 2.

Los Angeles – The widespread campus revolts over the genocidal attack on Gaza by the Zionist state continue to spread. High-tech communications are such that millions are watching the horrific military assault on Palestinian babies, their parents, and all Palestinians in sight with the machinery handed over by U.S. military contractors, paid for by our tax dollars. 

The spread of determined protests, inspired and often led by young Palestinians, is historic in how fast it has grown and how widespread it has become. Students have been suspended, expelled, arrested, unjustly accused of antisemitism, and physically attacked. Support has emerged from faculty, unions, and thousands of individuals. Campus authorities are clueless as to how to stop it.

UCLA students are a great example of how durable this new protest movement is. In spite of their actions being declared illegal by the school’s chancellor, a four-hour fascist attack during the early morning hours of May Day, police brutally breaking up their encampment on May 2, and nearly 300 arrests and constant harassment by violent Zionists, LA cops and a private security agency, the struggle continues.

Immediately after the students set up the encampment at Royce Hall, Zionists began showing up with an expensive sound system and huge video screen. The funding that paid for their equipment and perhaps more than that was from a GoFundMe account that raised nearly $100,000. Among the contributors was Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of reactionary comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and billionaire hedge-funder Bill Ackman. That was the first indication that there would be an ongoing presence of a pro-genocide crowd. 

Campus police and California Highway Patrol (CHP) were stopping people going to the anti-genocide rally, while people wrapped in the Zionist flag or carrying pro-genocide signs were freely wandering into the pro-Zionist crowd.

Cops, fascists, media collude

Beginning late Tuesday night, April 30, the Zionists began showing up in greater numbers at the edge of the ongoing encampment. These were a more ominous crowd than the Zionists that had been showing up for several days. Some sported the Zionist flag, but others were masked and wrapped themselves in the U.S. flag. It looked like past gatherings of Proud Boys or other right-wing goons. 

Just after midnight, these thugs routed the handful of UCLA campus police, who fled when they were on the receiving end of barricades being picked up and thrown. The Zionist side blasted the sound of babies crying and music from their huge sound system to keep people from sleeping. They threw debris, sprayed water, and began tearing down the plywood walls that protesters had erected. They used bear spray.  

One protester was dragged out of the encampment, thrown to the ground and kicked by four fascists. Fireworks were tossed into the middle of the tent city. One protestor suffered a head injury when he fell after being hit with bear spray. Other protestors carried him to a safe space, where he lay prone and barely conscious as they tried to get an ambulance.

The call for an ambulance brought three accompanying squad cars. EMS workers rinsed some peoples’ eyes, treated a few minor injuries, and left. The cops (who turned out to be campus police) milled around for a few minutes and then left without taking any action or ordering the fascists to leave. 

When this writer called the Los Angeles Police Department and demanded to know why they did nothing to stop the attack, the cops claimed that they were there. It was a blatant lie, and the next morning, CBS News falsely reported that LAPD had shown up in full riot gear to stop the attack. Nothing of the sort happened. 

Fatineh Judeh, a member of the organization Unmute Humanity, confirmed with Struggle-La Lucha that no LA cops had ever shown up to stop the attack and that one protester had been stabbed by a knife-wielding attacker.

In reality the LAPD held back while the fascists attacked. In hindsight, it looked like a case of collusion between cops and hired fascist thugs, as well as a media coverup.

Calls for chancellor’s resignation

The power of this protest movement is such that UCLA’s chancellor, Gene Block, is now facing consequences. He’s hired the former Sacramento police chief to form a new “Office of Campus Safety.” The first task is to “investigate,” along with LA police agencies, the question of “if” there had been a security lapse. This is clearly a case of the fox being appointed to guard the henhouse.

UCLA’s Daily Bruin newspaper reports that Block is facing calls for his resignation even after the clumsy attempt to save himself.  

If there were still questions about the role of the cops after they did nothing to stop the fascist attack the night before, they were answered when California Highway Patrol moved in overnight on May 1-2 and broke up the encampment, arresting 200 people in the process. 

Their assault was no walk in the park though. Their first attempt to rout the students failed. Students and their supporters from UCLA faculty and other UCLA workers had linked arms and would not budge. The shoving match went on long enough so that the cops retreated. 

It was only when they returned in larger numbers, using flash bangs, rubber bullets and pepper spray, that the cops succeeded in kettling the protestors and arresting 200 people.

With all of this, the protest is continuing. On Monday, May 6, students held two consecutive sit-ins at Moore Hall and Dodd Hall. As the sit-ins were getting organized, cops arrested another 43 people – this time in the parking lot before they even reached any activity. Absurdly, they charged them all with “conspiracy to commit burglary” and “breaking curfew.” 

Hours later though, hundreds of students, faculty and staff marched through campus again.

The students united will never be defeated! Down with Zionism, down with U.S. imperialism!

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