Anti-Israel protesters take over Cal State LA building, leaving damage and graffiti

Workers inside Student Services Building were told to shelter in place, but property was empty by Thursday morning, university spokesperson says

A student protester waves a Palestinian flag atop turned over utility carts at California State University, Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register via AP)
A student protester waves a Palestinian flag atop turned over utility carts at California State University, Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register via AP)

LOS ANGELES, California — A takeover of a building at California State University, Los Angeles by demonstrators protesting Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza ended early Thursday, leaving the facility trashed and covered with graffiti, TV news reports showed.

Anti-Israel demonstrators barricaded the multistory Student Services Building on Wednesday and workers inside were told to shelter in place, but it was empty by Thursday morning, said university spokesperson Erik Frost Hollins.

“What I can tell you, at the moment, is that the building is clear of employees and protesters and the building is secure,” said Frost Hollins, who did not immediately offer details on what occurred overnight.

The university posted a “protest action alert” on its website announcing that all main campus classes and operations would be remote until further notice and asking people to stay away.

Images from the scene showed graffiti on the building, furniture blocking doorways and overturned golf carts, picnic tables and umbrellas barricading the plaza out front.

The CSULA Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a group that has camped near the campus gym for about 40 days, sent an email indicating that members were staging a sit-in in the building, Hollins said.

Anti-Israel student protesters barricade the entrance to the student services building while awaiting for their divestment demands of California State University, Los Angeles administration on the campus in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register via AP)

Anti-Israel protest camps have sprung up on university campuses across the United States and in Europe as students demand their universities stop doing business with Israel or companies that support its war efforts. Organizers have sought to amplify calls to end Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which they claim is a “genocide” against the Palestinians.

On Monday, 25 protesters were arrested just days before University of California regents are scheduled to meet at UCLA for this coming weekend’s commencement ceremonies.

Demonstrations against Israel, along with instances of antisemitism, have skyrocketed in the US since Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking 251 hostage to Gaza in a devastating shock attack that triggered the war in Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says more than 36,000 people in the Strip have been killed or are presumed dead in the fighting so far. Of these, some 24,000 fatalities have been identified at hospitals or through self-reporting by families, with the rest of the figure based on Hamas “media sources.” The tolls, which cannot be verified, include some 15,000 terror operatives Israel says it has killed in battle. Israel also says it killed some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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