Pro-Palestinian protest at UC Irvine escalates as demonstrators rally near building

IRVINE, Calif. —A Pro-Palestinian protest at UC Irvine escalated Wednesday afternoon, prompting a shelter-in-place for students and staff and a callout for hundreds of law enforcement members.

The protesters rallied around the Physical Sciences Quad where an encampment – much like the ones seen at college campuses across the country – has been in place for more than a week.

AIR7 HD was above the protest and captured hundreds of law enforcement members in riot gear as they confronted protesters, prompting a tense moment between the two groups.

As of late afternoon, officers had not made any advance on the protesters, and there were no reports of any injuries or arrests.

Campus police reportedly requested aid from several law enforcement agencies, including the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Irvine police, and the California Highway Patrol.

The Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Irvine group along with the UCI Divest Coalition said one of the main points of Wednesday’s protest was to demand UCl drop student suspensions related to the encampment and “to demand UCI end its complicity in genocide.”

In a statement issued Monday, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said the university “cannot selectively waive our rules against encampments (or other relevant policies) for this situation and not other situations. Such selective enforcement is unlawful.”

The statement continued, saying, “Moreover, a decision to abandon enforcement of our policies would effectively permit any group of people – campus affiliates or otherwise – to come onto campus and establish an encampment for any reason, without consequences. Setting such a precedent would create ongoing threats to the safety of our community and our ability to do our important work.”

Meanwhile, classes were canceled for the rest of the day and all classes and staff has been advised to work remotely on Thursday.

The university is urging people to stay away from the campus as the protest continues.

This is a developing story. This article will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

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