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Published on May 23, 2024
UCLA Campus Tensions Rise as LAPD Issues Citywide Alert Over New Pro-Palestinian EncampmentSource: Alton, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tensions are high at UCLA, where a new pro-Palestinian encampment has taken shape, prompting Los Angeles police to issue a citywide tactical alert. As reported by KTLA, protesters have barricaded sections of the campus near Kerckhoff Patio and Moore Hall, with some classes now shifted to remote learning due to restricted access.

According to ABC7, demonstrators used tables and plywood to seal off a main walkway. The scene included tents and canopies set up within the new barricade. UCLA officials have been monitoring the situation closely, especially in light of recent congressional testimony from UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, who came under fire for the response to a similar encampment last month that escalated into violence.

UCLA's response has come under scrutiny as Block addressed the House Committee on Education and Workforce. "We will hold accountable all those who engaged in violence or violated our policies," Block told the committee, acknowledging the university's shortcomings during the previous month's protests.

In an effort to reinforce campus safety, UCLA has reassigned university police Chief John Thomas, as stated by UCLA Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Mary Osako. A new interim chief, Gawin Gibson, has been appointed during an examination of the university's security processes. "John Thomas has been reassigned temporarily, pending an examination of our security processes," said Osako, as the university looks to enhance community safety.

There's been no immediate word on what position Thomas has been assigned to. Meanwhile, the LAPD remains on high alert as they navigate the complexities of maintaining order and respecting the rights of protesters on the UCLA campus.