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May 1, 2024 - US campus protests

What we covered here

  • Police are at UCLA and have declared the pro-Palestinian protest on campus an unlawful assembly, a source told CNN. Police typically take this step before ordering individuals to disperse or face arrest. The large security presence includes the LAPD, California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, according to a source familiar with law enforcement plans.
  • This comes after hundreds of demonstrators were arrested in 24 hours as protests against Israel's bombardment of Gaza disrupt university campuses across the US.
  • About 300 protesters were arrested at Columbia University and City College of New York on Tuesday night, and at least a dozen people were arrested at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Wednesday.
  • While the demands among protesters vary at each university, the majority of demonstrations have called for the divestment from companies that support Israel and the war in Gaza.
1:14 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

Our live coverage of the protests at US colleges has moved here
1:10 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

USC reopens campus to school community after closing due to protesters unaffiliated with university

The University of Southern California reopened its campus to the school community Wednesday night after temporarily closing because "demonstrators unaffiliated with USC" were protesting next to the campus, the school said.

The protesters were gathered at the intersection of Jefferson Boulevard and Figueroa Street, the school said in a post at around 8 p.m. It was not clear what they were protesting. 
Shortly after 9 p.m., the school said the demonstrators had left the area and the campus was reopened to "students, staff, faculty, and registered guests."
12:01 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

UCLA police tell people to leave encampment over loudspeaker

UCLA police over loudspeaker told those in the encampment to leave a little before 8 p.m. PT Wednesday evening.

Police are warning those in the encampment they may be "in violation of the law and subject to administrative actions."

12:01 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

LAPD issues city-wide "tactical alert" putting officers on notice about UCLA protest

The Los Angeles Police Department has issued a city-wide "tactical alert" related to the unlawful assembly declared at a pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA, a law enforcement source told CNN. 

The alert notifies all LAPD personnel that they could be called on tonight to assist with the ongoing situation on campus, if needed.

During a tactical alert, some lower-priority calls for police services may not be addressed.

12:01 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

Several law enforcement agencies coordinate their approach to UCLA encampment, source says

Police officers get into position as pro-Palestinian students and activists demonstrate on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on May 1. Etienne Laurent/AFP/Getty Images

The large law enforcement presence on UCLA's campus is comprised of several agencies to perform specific tasks to clear the encampment, according to a source familiar with law enforcement plans:

  • The Los Angeles Police Department will secure the perimeter.
  • The California Highway Patrol will enter the encampment.
  • The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department will be responsible for crowd control.

Law enforcement on site will be equipped with protective gear, including gas masks, according to the source. The UCLA hospital will also be on standby to receive anyone who may be injured, the source said.

1:56 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

State police deployed to University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College took people into custody

Police arrest several protesters at Dartmouth College on Wednesday night. WMUR

State police were deployed to the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College due to “illegal activity and at the request of local law enforcement,” the New Hampshire Department of Safety told CNN.

"All individuals who were taken into custody are being processed by the University of New Hampshire Police Department and the Hanover Police Department,” said Tyler Dumont, New Hampshire Department of Safety spokesman.
“The members of the New Hampshire State Police are committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Granite Staters while also ensuring those who violate the law are held accountable."

The University of New Hampshire told CNN that students supporting Palestinians had peacefully protested on campus at least seven times over the past six months.

"Despite much communication with organizers regarding the University’s expectations for conduct when exercising their free speech rights, those guidelines were ignored today. Protesters erected tents in an attempt to create an encampment on UNH property."

The university said it will protect free speech on campus but "will not allow it to be co-opted by a small group of protesters, including outside agitators.”

CNN has reached out to Dartmouth College for comment. 

Multiple people were arrested during an ongoing pro-Palestinian protest at Dartmouth College on Wednesday night, according to CNN affiliate WMUR.
11:34 p.m. ET, May 1, 2024

Multiple people arrested at Dartmouth College in standoff between protesters and police

Police arrest several protesters at Dartmouth College on Wednesday night. WMUR

Multiple people have been arrested during an ongoing pro-Palestinian protest at Dartmouth College on Wednesday night, according to CNN affiliate WMUR.

Video from WMUR shows police pulling protesters one-by-one from the crowd gathered on the Dartmouth Green and detaining them with zip ties.

Protesters can be heard chanting “Free Palestine” while holding banners and flags.

The crowd appears to be a mix of students and members of the community, WMUR says.

11:28 p.m. ET, May 1, 2024

About 16 arrested following protest at University at Buffalo, school says

Approximately 16 people were arrested Wednesday night after a pro-Palestine protest at the University at Buffalo's North Campus, including students and "other individuals not affiliated with the University at Buffalo," the school said in a release.
Those people were arrested after being "advised of, and failing to comply, with an order to disperse for a violation of UB’s Picketing and Assembling Policy that prohibits encampments and overnight assemblies," the release reads.
"While many protesters peacefully left the area after being advised multiple times by UB Police that those remaining at the protest would be arrested if they did not disperse at dusk, unfortunately some individuals elected to ignore the requests of UB Police and were arrested."

"A few individuals" attempted to resist arrest, and two officers were assaulted, the release reads.

In an earlier release, the university said its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine originally organized a march at the North Campus on Wednesday. 
Around 50 people, including students and others not affiliated with the university, continued to protest into Wednesday evening, the university said.
Many left the area after warnings from university police to disperse at dusk, but others were arrested outside of Hochstetter Hall, the university said.
"While the decision to arrest individuals occurred after multiple discussions, communications and warnings to protesters, UB Police prioritized the safety and security of the university community by upholding and enforcing all applicable laws, SUNY rules and UB polices."

The university said it recognizes and respects the right to protest but emphasized that overnight assemblies and indoor and outdoor encampments are prohibited.

"The university recognizes and respects the right to protest afforded under the First Amendment," the release announcing the arrests reads. "However, those members of the university community and visitors who wish to express their viewpoints through picketing and other forms of demonstration are permitted to peacefully do so but must not violate the provisions of the Rules for the Maintenance of Public Order of the SUNY Board of Trustees and must adhere to UB’s Picketing and Assembling Policy, including the prohibition of overnight assemblies, and indoor and outdoor encampments."

Five tents were previously placed on campus but were removed by protesters after they were advised by university staff and police.

12:00 a.m. ET, May 2, 2024

Unlawful assembly declared at UCLA encampment, source says

Law enforcement has declared an unlawful assembly for a pro-Palestinian encampment at the university's quad, a source familiar with the situation tells CNN. 

Declaring a gathering unlawful is a step police typically take before ordering individuals to disperse or face arrest.

CNN witnessed more than 100 law enforcement officers from various agencies entering the campus Wednesday, including a stream of officers wearing riot helmets and carrying zip ties.

Aerial video from CNN affiliate KABC shows dozens of police vehicles and a law enforcement mobile command post gathered at the FBI's Los Angeles field office parking lot, which is approximately one mile from the UCLA encampment. 

Hundreds of people had gathered outside the encampment Wednesday evening, most appearing to be seated on the ground across from the entrance to the camp, the aerial footage shows. Inside the encampment, more than 80 tents lined the grass as people busily wove through the area.

By around 8:30 p.m., a growing line of LAPD officers had formed between the encampment and the outside group of protesters, according to a CNN crew on the scene.

This aerial view shows police vehicles and a law enforcement mobile command post gathering at the FBI's Los Angeles field office parking lot in Loas Angeles, California. KABC