US police take back building that anti-Israel protesters occupied at UC Irvine

IRVINE, California — Police have taken back a lecture hall from pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrating against Israel who for hours occupied the building at the University of California, Irvine, then cleared a student encampment that stood for more than two weeks, witnesses says.

Officers from about 10 nearby law-enforcement agencies converged on the campus after university officials requested help because protesters had occupied the lecture hall, leading the school to declare it a “violent protest,” police and university officials say.

About four hours later, police had ejected the protesters from both the lecture hall and the plaza that had been the site of the encampment, according to the university and Reuters witnesses.

“The police have retaken the lecture hall,” UC Irvine spokesperson Tom Vasich says by telephone from the scene. “The plaza has been cleared by law-enforcement officers.”

Vasich says there were a “minimal number of arrests” and characterizes the protesters as “begrudgingly cooperative.”

The university says all classes will be held remotely on Thursday, asking employees not to come to campus.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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