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LAPD fires riot munitions, makes mass arrests at USC pro-Palestine protest

As Israel’s genocide against Palestine continues to escalate, students from universities across the United States are leading campus protests en masse and demanding their respective schools divest from corporations and institutions linked to Israel’s violence in Palestine. Students and faculty alike from the University of Southern California joined this call to action on Wednesday— prompting extreme state repression and acts of police brutality throughout the entire day and into the late evening.

The Los Angeles Police Department, under direct orders from University of Southern California administration officials, arrested at least 93 pro-Palestine activists at the student-led protest occupation of Alumni Park on campus. The demonstrators were charged with “trespassing.”

LAPD aims a potentially lethal 40mm riot launcher at USC student protesters. (Source: LA Times)

Multiple protesters reported being shoved and struck with batons by police while trying to lock arms and protect each other. Police closed the campus and forced the protesters out into the street. 

After locking down the school gates, video from school news outlet Annenberg Media shows officers opening fire with potentially lethal riot munitions at unarmed pro-Palestine demonstrators who were already dispersing. 

Media provocateurs and top level administration officials made baseless accusations of violence and antisemitism against the pro-Palestine protesters in order to justify the police brutality, but voices from on the ground paint a very different picture.

Photo evidence shows an expelled riot munition round, confirming LAPD fired a 37mm or 40mm riot launcher at USC student protesters.

“I spent more than 12 hours reporting from the Gaza Solidarity Occupation at USC today. I didn’t see any antisemitism. What I did see was militarized police arrest pro-Palestinian students who were peacefully protesting,” stated Spectrum News journalist Jeremy Lindenfeld.

Jody David Armour, the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, said, “I’ve been here from early this morning and contrary to what’s being said by the administration, these are students, not “outside agitators” and they were not escalating. The cops have been doing the escalating!”

One father told ABC7 why he went to the protest with his daughter, a USC student: "If the police arrest me now, I am willing to go with the students. I have no problem because what I am doing is the right thing: fighting against a genocide."

The atmosphere during the protest was overwhelmingly welcoming and committed to ending the violence in Palestine and working towards peace. It was the police who brought tensions onto the scene and escalated the situation by employing violence to repress the protest.

Before LAPD attacked and made mass arrests, the protest featured yoga, speeches from students and faculty, chants for Palestinian liberation, and more. Here are the official demands from student organizers: 

  1. End War Profiteering and Investment in Genocide. USC must fully disclose and divest its finances and endowment from companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine, including the US Military and weapons manufacturing. USC must commit to accountability through full transparency of their financial investments.

  2. Complete Academic Boycott of Israel. USC must end its study abroad programs at Hebrew University's Rothenberg International School and Reichman University and sever all academic ties and research cooperation with Israeli universities.

  3. Protect free speech on campus and provide full amnesty to all students, staff, and faculty disciplined, penalized, or fired for their pro-Palestine activism. USC must abide by their self-proclaimed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion values and implement material policies protecting the safety of its marginalized students.

  4. Stop the Displacement, from South Central to Palestine. No land grabs, whether in South Central, Tongva territory, or Palestine. Cease expansion, provide reparations, and support housing for low-income South Central residents. No development by USC without genuine community control.

  5. No Policing on Campus. End the targeted repression and harassment of Black, Brown, and Palestinian students and their allies on and off campus, including through university disciplinary processes. Defund the Department of Public Safety and disclose and sever all ties with the LAPD.

  6. End the Silence on the Genocide in Palestine. Release a public statement calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza, denouncing the ongoing genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people, and call on government officials to do so too.


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