More than 2,100 people have been arrested during pro-Palestinian protests on US college campuses (2024)


Published: May. 2, 2024 at 4:51 AM EDT|Updated: 7 hours ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have arrested more than 2,100 people during pro-Palestinian protests at college campuses across the United States in recent weeks, sometimes using riot gear, tactical vehicles and flash-bang devices to clear tent encampments and occupied buildings. One officer accidentally discharged his gun inside a Columbia University administration building while clearing out protesters camped inside, authorities disclosed Thursday.

No one was injured by the officer’s mistake late Tuesday inside Hamilton Hall on the Columbia campus, the NYPD said Thursday. He was trying to use the flashlight attached to his gun at the time and instead fired a single round that struck a frame on the wall.

There were other officers but no students in the immediate vicinity, officials said. Body camera footage shows when the officer’s gun went off, but the district attorney’s office is conducting a review, a standard practice.

More than 100 people were taken into custody during the Columbia crackdown, just a fraction of the total arrests stemming from recent campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war. A tally by The Associated Press on Thursday found at least 50 incidents of arrests at 40 different U.S. colleges or universities since April 18.

Early Thursday, officers surged against a crowd of demonstrators at University of California, Los Angeles, ultimately taking at least 200 protesters into custody after hundredsdefied orders to leave,some forming human chains as police fired flash-bangs to break up the crowds. Police tore apart a fortified encampment’s barricade of plywood, pallets, metal fences and dumpsters, then pulled down canopies and tents.

Like at UCLA,tent encampmentsof protesters calling on universities tostop doing business with Israelor companies they say support thewar in Gazahave spread across other campuses nationwide in a student movementunlike any other this century.Iranian state television carried live images of the police action at UCLA, as did Qatar’s pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite network. Live images of Los Angeles also played across Israeli television networks.

Israel has branded the protestsantisemitic,while Israel’s critics say it uses those allegations to silence opposition. Although some protesters have been caught on camera making antisemitic remarks or violent threats, protest organizers — some of whom are Jewish — call it a peaceful movement to defend Palestinian rights and protest the war.

President Joe Biden on Thursdaydefended the right of studentsto peaceful protest but decried the disorder of recent days.

The demonstrationsbegan at Columbiaon April 17 with students calling foran end to the Israel-Hamas war,which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the Health Ministry there. Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, on Oct. 7 and took roughly 250 hostages in an attack on southern Israel.

On April 18, the NYPD cleared Columbia’s initial encampment and arrested roughly 100 protesters. The demonstrators set up new tents and defied threats of suspension, and escalated their actions early Tuesday by occupying Hamilton Hall, an administration building that was similarly seized in 1968 by students protesting racism and the Vietnam War.

Roughly 20 hours later, officers stormed the hall. Video showed police with zip ties and riot shields streaming through a second-floor window. Police had said protesters inside presented no substantial resistance.

The officer’s gun went off at 9:38 p.m., the NYPD said, about 10 minutes after police started pouring into Hamilton Hall. The department did not name the officer, whose actions werefirst reportedby news outlet The City on Thursday.

The confrontations at UCLA also played out over several days this week. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block told alumni on a call Thursday afternoon that the trouble started after a permitted pro-Israel rally was held on campus Sunday and fights broke out and “live mice” were tossed into the pro-Palestinian encampment later that day.

In the following days, administrators tried to find a peaceful solution with members of the encampment and expected things to remain stable, Block said.

That changed late Tuesday, he said, when counterdemonstrators attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment. Campus administrators and police did not intervene or call for backup for hours. No one was arrested that night, but at least 15 protesters were injured. The delayed response drew criticism from political leaders, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and officials pledged an independent review.

“We certainly weren’t thinking that we’d end up with a large number of violent people, that hadn’t happened before,” Block said on the call.

By Wednesday, the encampment had become “much more of a bunker” and there was no other solution but to have police dismantle it, he said.

The hourslong standoff went into Thursday morning as officers warned over loudspeakers that there would be arrests if the crowd — at the time more than 1,000 strong inside the encampment as well as outside of it — did not disperse. Hundreds left voluntarily, while another 200-plus remained and were ultimately taken into custody.

Meanwhile, protest encampments at other schools across the U.S. have been cleared by police — resulting in more arrests — or closed up voluntarily. But University of Minnesota officials reached an agreement with protesters not to disrupt commencements, and similar compromises have been made atNorthwestern University in suburban Chicago, Rutgers University in New Jersey and Brown University in Rhode Island.

Ariel Dardashti, a graduating UCLA senior studying global studies and sociology, said no student should feel unsafe at school.

“It should not get to the point where students are being arrested,” Dardashti said on campus Thursday.

Dardashti, who is Jewish, said he can relate to the trauma suffered by Palestinians.

“When my dad was fleeing Iran, he prayed that his children wouldn’t have to face antisemitism,” Dardashti said. “We’re afraid of having to flee again in the same way our parents did.”


Watson reported from San Diego, Keller from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Thompson from Buffalo, New York. Associated Press journalists around the country contributed to this report, including Kavish Harjai, Krysta Fauria, Leslie Ambriz, John Antczak, Christopher L. Keller, Lisa Baumann, Stefanie Dazio, Jae C. Hong, Colleen Long, Karen Matthews, Sarah Brumfield, Carolyn Thompson, Philip Marcelo, Steve Karnowski and Eugene Johnson.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

More than 2,100 people have been arrested during pro-Palestinian protests on US college campuses (2024)


More than 2,100 people have been arrested during pro-Palestinian protests on US college campuses? ›

By the end of the day on Friday, May 3, there were more than 2,100 arrests on more than 40 campuses across 25 states. New York and California lead in arrests, from multiple days of arrests across several campuses.

Where have protesters on US campuses been arrested or detained? ›

Campus protests where arrests and detainments have taken place since April 18
CampusLocationConfirmed arrests or detainments
Cal Poly ObispoSan Luis Obispo, Calif.8
Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, Ohio20
City College of New YorkNew York, N.Y.173
Columbia UniversityNew York, N.Y.217
57 more rows
5 days ago

How many people were arrested in Columbia? ›

At Tuesday's pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University and The City College of New York, 282 people were arrested, according to the New York Police Department. Of the 112 people arrested at Columbia, 32 (or 29%) were not affiliated with the university, according to an NYPD official.

How many people were arrested at UCLA? ›

Protesters at UCLA remain the morning after hundreds were arrested at the campus. The following day, local authorities declared the demonstrations an "unlawful assembly." Police officers in riot gear used flashbang grenades to clear out the encampment and arrested more than 200 people.

Why are they protesting at UCLA? ›

April 25-30: UCLA protest establishes itself

Protesters called for an end to the war in Gaza and for UCLA to be more transparent about its financial ties with arms manufacturers and with Israel.

How many people have been arrested at college protests? ›

Over 2,100 arrests at school protests nationwide

So far, there have been at least 2,138 arrests at college protests across the country, according to an NBC News tally.

Which universities have Palestinian encampments? ›

More than 100 college campuses, mostly in the U.S., are experiencing pro-Palestine demonstrations and encampments, resulting in student arrests, suspensions, and expulsions.
  • American University.
  • Arizona State University.
  • Auraria Campus.
  • Barnard College.
  • Brown University.
  • Cal Poly Humboldt.
  • Case Western Reserve University.
May 16, 2024

How many protesters arrested at Columbia were not students? ›

City officials said 29% of the 112 people arrested at a protest at Columbia on Tuesday were not affiliated with the school. At the City College protest, 60% of the 170 arrested were not affiliated with the school, according to the city's press release.

Has anyone been arrested at Columbia University? ›

Police arrested 282 protesters at Columbia University and the City College of New York. According to the professors, they ended up at one of two jails downtown: NYPD headquarters or the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. “The conditions we're hearing about are inhumane. They take away the dignity of every person in there.”

How many people get arrested each year in the US? ›

Number of arrests for all offenses in the United States from 1990 to 2022
CharacteristicNumber of arrests
9 more rows
May 22, 2024

What is the black population at UCLA? ›

Student Diversity by Ethnicity
African American6%6%
American Indian & Alaska Native<1%<1%
Asian & Pacific Islander35%21%
2 more rows

How many UCLA students are homeless? ›

Nov. 11, 2020 7:59 p.m. A significant percentage of California college students are experiencing homelessness, a UCLA report found. The report, published in October, found that 20% of California Community College students and 5% of University of California students are experiencing homelessness.

Does UCLA have criminal investigation? ›

The Investigations Division is commanded by a Lieutenant who is responsible for overseeing the investigations of crimes committed against persons and property and serious or unusual incidents following the initial response and investigation by patrol, and for investigating narcotic and vice activity.

Why is UCLA the number 1 public university? ›

“More than anything else, UCLA is the best public university in the nation because of the contributions of our staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends. UCLA is the best public university in the nation because of you.” Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor.

What caused the violence at UCLA? ›

Law enforcement stood by for hours as counterprotesters attacked the pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA on April 30, which erupted into the worst violence stemming from the ongoing college protests around the country over Israel's war in Gaza.

Why everyone wants to go to UCLA? ›

World-Renowned Academic Rigor

UCLA is home to Nobel Laureates and MacArthur Fellows, pioneers and innovators, and leaders of the next generation. Our tradition of excellence starts with our academic rigor, which will challenge you to think critically and to consider new global perspectives.

How many student and sit in protesters were arrested on feb 27 1960? ›

The first group of demonstrators was arrested February 27, 1960, after white teenagers responded violently to the sit-ins; the police were unexpectedly absent until they arrived to arrest eighty-one demonstrating students.

What happened with the protests that broke out on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison in October of 1967? ›

Students clashed with police, and a number of them resisted arrest and were forcibly carried out of the building. There were reports of some protesters being beaten by police with nightsticks. Finally, police threw canisters of tear gas into the building to break up the crowd.

What happened at the protests on college campuses in 1970? ›

The most prolific university protest of the Vietnam War happened at Kent State University in Ohio in May 1970. Students started protesting the Vietnam War and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia on their campus on May 2. Two days later, the National Guard opened fire into a sea of antiwar protesters and passerbys.

What happened overnight at UCLA? ›

LOS ANGELES -- Dueling groups of protesters clashed overnight at the University of California, Los Angeles, shoving, kicking and beating each other with sticks after pro-Israel demonstrators tried to pull down barricades surrounding a pro-Palestinian encampment.


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