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Dozens of pro-Palestine protesters arrested at USC following demonstrations

The University of Southern California (USC) campus became a battleground on Wednesday as tensions flared during a pro-Palestine demonstration, leading to clashes between protesters and police. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detained numerous demonstrators, with about 93 arrests made for misdemeanor trespassing by 10 p.m. The detained individuals were taken to LAPD’s Metropolitan Division in Downtown Los Angeles, sparking another protest outside the detention center by pro-Palestine supporters.

The unrest at USC was sparked by students and protesters occupying Alumni Park, demanding that the university sever financial ties with Israel amidst the ongoing conflict. USC responded by closing its campus gates, implementing ID checks for entry, and urging individuals to avoid the center of campus unless attending classes.

Video footage captured campus police attempting to dismantle encampments set up by protesters for the Gaza Solidarity Occupation demonstrations, echoing similar events occurring across the country. By 5:30 p.m., LAPD issued a dispersal order, calling on protesters to vacate the campus premises.

What began as a peaceful demonstration took a tumultuous turn as the evening progressed. By 6 p.m., some protesters grew agitated and began hurling objects at law enforcement officers, including rocks and water bottles. Despite officers’ orders to disperse, many protesters linked arms and continued chanting, indicating their resolve to continue the demonstration. LAPD stated that any further arrests would be made by the USC Department of Public Safety, with LAPD officers assisting campus police in maintaining order.

In response to the escalating tensions, USC issued alerts to students and faculty, warning them of significant activity at the center of the campus due to the ongoing demonstration. The heightened atmosphere left many individuals, including Jewish student Coby Russo, feeling uneasy about their safety on campus. Russo described feeling anxious and received concerned calls from his family on the East Coast, highlighting the emotional toll of the unrest.

Despite safety concerns, Russo expressed his determination to continue his studies at USC. Another student, identified only as Desmond, participated in the protest to draw attention to the suffering of Palestinians and advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation and ongoing violence.

The clashes at USC reflect a broader trend of pro-Palestine demonstrations sweeping across the United States, with the university becoming a focal point for activism and calls for divestment from Israel. While tensions ran high and confrontations occurred, the protest underscored deep-seated sentiments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the quest for justice and solidarity among supporters of Palestine.

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