CNN footage from the UCLA campus showed police removing barricades around the protest camp and arresting several demonstrators. Police used stun grenades to disperse people, an AFP journalist at the scene observed, while helicopters circled above the campus.

“This is a peaceful protest, there are no counter-protesters tonight, so sending the police on them is despicable,” Los Angeles resident Jack Bedrosian told AFP.

There is a large police presence because “rioters from outside attacked peacefully protesting students last night without anyone protecting them,” Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia said on online service X.

On Wednesday night there were violent clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators on the UCLA campus. The pro-Israel activists sprayed chemical substances on the pro-Palestinian camp and attempted to tear down barricades before police finally arrived. The authorities were accused of reacting too slowly. Given the situation, UCLA temporarily switched from face-to-face to online teaching.

Protests also continued at other universities: In Dallas, police tore down a tent camp at the University of Texas on Wednesday (local time) and arrested more than a dozen people. According to police reports, a camp set up in a building at Fordham University in New York was evacuated and several arrests were made.

At Columbia University on the other side of the city, law enforcement officers were on standby on Wednesday after numerous arrests had been made the previous evening. According to police, a total of around 300 people were arrested at the two New York universities.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in the state of the same name, demonstrators blocked a road during rush hour.

Since last month, protests have spread to at least 30 US universities. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up tent camps and denounced the immensely high number of deaths in the Gaza Strip as a result of the war between the radical Islamist Hamas and Israel.

The protests began at the renowned Columbia University and then spread to other universities in the country. Among other things, the demonstrators are demanding that universities divest from companies that have connections to Israel, which the universities reject.

Israel’s President Herzog sharply criticized US universities in light of the incidents. The famous academic institutions and “halls of history, culture and education” are “contaminated by hatred and anti-Semitism” that are “nurtured by arrogance and ignorance,” Herzog said on Thursday. “We watch with horror as the October 7 atrocities against Israel are celebrated and defended,” the president added, pledging his support to Israeli students at affected U.S. universities and around the world.

The US House of Representatives in Washington voted on Wednesday to expand the legal definition of anti-Semitism. The MPs voted for a cross-party draft that stipulates that the Ministry of Education will in future be guided by the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The bill now has to be passed by the Senate.