Law enforcement dismantles encampment and arrests protesters on Library Walk, students and community members demand release of arrestees

Law enforcement dismantles encampment and arrests protesters on Library Walk, students and community members demand release of arrestees
Image by Hana Tobias for The UCSD Guardian

At approximately 5:40 a.m., San Diego Police officers in riot gear stormed the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. As of 10:42 a.m., an estimated 64 protesters were arrested, according to a press release from campus administrators. 

Forty of the arrestees have been identified as students, while the remaining 24 are either non-affiliates or of unknown status. Police detained the arrestees in Price Center, which was locked to outsiders at the time. 

SDPD and UC San Diego custodial staff began cleaning out the encampment, loading personal items — including clothes, tents, signs, and flags — into trash bags and driving them away to an unknown location. Janitorial staff placed a rope barrier surrounding the green where the encampment previously stood. Additional metal fences have been set up on the north and south ends of Library Walk parallel to Price Center, blocking access to the area entirely.

“The decision to vacate the site was based on danger arising from a prolonged event in terms of health, fire, safety and security,” read an email sent at 8:44 a.m. by Executive Director of Internal Communications Laura Margonia.

The email added that “University of California Police, CHP and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department successfully and peacefully dismantled an illegal encampment on the UC San Diego campus.” 

According to SDPD Officer David Jennings, who spoke to the public, the protestors at the encampment were warned multiple times before police moved in. Those arrested face a charge of unlawful assembly.

Triton Alert sent an email notification to all faculty, students, and staff at 5:58 a.m., announcing the suspension of campus facilities from “North Torrey Pines Road to Interstate 5 due to police activity.” Students were also notified that classes would be held remotely for the day. 

In response to the arrests and law enforcement’s storming of the encampment, a group of approximately 50 protestors — the majority of whom were students — gathered in front of Target on Library Walk at around 7:30 a.m., responding to a call to action posted on Students for Justice in Palestine at UCSD’s Instagram account.

The group doubled in size as the protesters continued chanting in support of those arrested. At approximately 9:00 a.m., the crowd moved toward Price Center Loop, where two San Diego County Sheriff buses were parked on Matthews Lane.

Protesters surrounded the buses in an attempt to stop them from leaving, moving under the impression that the detainees were inside. The buses began honking and moved forward, pushing through the crowd to exit.

Minutes later, a third bus arrived at Price Center Loop, and protestors ran to surround it. Police in riot gear escorted over 30 detainees from Price Center to load them onto the bus, the detainees’ hands bound with zip-ties.

In response to the increasing police presence on the scene, protestors chanted, “why are you in riot gear, there is no riot here,” and “free our students.”  

Sirens began blaring from the bus as protesters shook it from the outside and refused to move out of the way. In response, police began pushing the protestors away from the bus with batons. Law enforcement and protestors clashed as the bus made its way through the crowd. Protesters followed the bus.

Onsite, The UCSD Guardian reporters witnessed students being sprayed with an irritant, hit with batons, and thrown to the ground. Reporters also witnessed police carrying weapons labeled “less lethal,” including guns with rubber bullets. 

Law enforcement continued to prevent students from following the bus, forming a blockade near the Central Campus trolley station. 

Each of the buses left by 10:51 a.m., and arrestees were taken to the Las Colinas Detention Facility, for female or female-identified individuals, and the San Diego Central Jail, for male or male-identified individuals.

Protesters continued rallying around the Structural and Materials Engineering Building, then returned to the south side of Price Center, where police entered the building. Protesters continued chanting and banging on the doors. At approximately 11:00 a.m., protesters began to disperse. 

Around 2:00 p.m. protesters were reportedly being released from detention. SJP at UCSD posted a fundraiser on Instagram for arrestees’ bail fees. 

UC San Diego Hillel released a statement in support of the university’s decision to clear the encampment.

“We are appreciative of the university leadership for taking the necessary steps to enforce its policies and code of conduct to ensure that our university remains a safe and welcoming space,” the statement read. 

A spokesperson for the encampment spoke to media in downtown San Diego at 2:18 p.m. 

“There is no reason our chancellor should have allowed this to happen,” they said. “We are nothing but mere tokens on their campus, and they do not truly care about our safety … hundreds of students were brutalized by sheriffs that were given the greenlight by administration.” 

This is a breaking story, and The UCSD Guardian will continue to provide updates as it develops.


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About the Contributors
Vivian Dueker
Vivian Dueker, Features Editor
California native and avid rock climber, Vivian pursues her interest in the social sciences through investigative articles on student-centered issues.
Carter Castillo
Carter Castillo, News Editor
Second year Comparative Politics Major and passionate student journalist. Proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius.
Natalia Montero Acevedo, Staff Writer
A Political Science major, Natalia Montero loves to engage with on-site reporting to connect with communities’ affairs. Be warned, she will bombard you with random facts about whatever book she’s currently reading. She will also make sure to bring up The Sound of Music, Mitski, and Roger Deakins’ or Justine Triet’s work in whatever conversation she’s in.
Hana Tobias
Hana Tobias, Photographer
Hana is a fourth year Cognitive Science major.
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    Richard Dittbenner, J.D,May 6, 2024 at 4:34 pm

    I am old enough to have participated in the 1968 protests the Vietnam War and was in Chicago during the Democratic Convention and having breakfast in the street-facing Palmer House adjacent to the renowned CBS commentator, Walter Cronkite. We all sat in stunned amazement as Chicago Police on horseback clubbed and seriously injured peaceful protesters blocking the street. Therefore, I am old enough to offer an informed opinion that Chancellor Khosla’s name will be entered into the List of Shame along with the President of Columbia University and others as among those educational leaders who failed to measure their actions in light of the demands of moral history. If he recognizes his mistake, then now is the time to admit it, NOT when he recognizes belatedly that he should have done so earlier. Such is a measure of integrity history will use in judging his actions. I hope he rises to the call of the future. [I was also a student enrolled in post-doctoral classes at UCSD and UC Berkeley.]