Guest Commentary: Statement from UCLA Palestine Solidarity Encampment

“We call on the student body and the public to monitor and oppose the increasingly repressive fascist tactics being deployed by our administration, the UC Regents, and the Biden Admin. No one is free until Palestine is free.”

Less than 24 hours ago, and effective immediately, the Chancellor moved oversight of policy enforcement and the Office of Emergency Management from the Office of the Administrative Vice Chancellor to a newly created Office — an Office which masquerades as campus safety but whose leader solely reports to Gene Block. In other words, UCLA increased police presence and enlisted countless Sheriff deputies, all of whom report to the same man that left us to die and gave impunity to the perpetrators when our lives were threatened.

What: This morning at approximately 6 AM, over 45 students and other members of the UCLA community were arrested and detained by members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department. Students, as well as lawyers and members of the press, were handcuffed and put in zip ties, and forced to the ground for over four hours. A student was arrested simply for filming on the way to the gym — one of many unlawfully arrested. There are multiple instances captured on live streams in which the police tossed a person’s phone or filming device to the side, or forcefully grabbed it to interrupt them from recording. Those who were detained repeatedly asked if they were under arrest or free to go, but police officers refused to answer them. A vague mention of “curfew” by one of the officers was listed as one of the reasons behind the detainments earlier on in the incident — although importantly, curfew regulations do not apply to UCLA students. Police officers refused to give their names and badge numbers, with some even covering their badges. Campus and local media were further barred from entry. All of the aforementioned events were caught on a variety of student and press livestreams.

When they were arrested, students were not currently protesting. These unlawful arrests constitute harassment and abuse of power by law enforcement, and serve solely as an intimidation tactic. The deliberate targeting of legal observers and members of the press demonstrates UCLA’s blatant disregard for basic democratic safeguards guaranteeing the ability to dissent.

The UCLA community demands the immediate release of everyone detained this morning, and for the dropping of all charges, both the trumped up charges fabricated this morning and the unlawful charges from May 1st. These demands are interlaced with our integral five demands: disclosure, divestment, as well as full abidance by the BDS stipulations with an emphasis on academic and research programs. These demands are most relevant today apropos the end to the policing on our campus, the targeting of pro-Palestine advocates and and an end to the administration’s silence on the genocide, and their complicity. Our demands have been made clear to the university on repeated occasions, despite both the UCLA administration’s refusal to consider them and their efforts to censor and intimidate the student body.

We call on the student body and the public to monitor and oppose the increasingly repressive fascist tactics being deployed by our administration, the UC Regents, and the Biden Administration. No one is free until Palestine is free.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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