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Violent clashes: LAPD responds in riot gear to UCLA campus amid pro-Palestinian protests

California Police in riot gear swept onto UCLA’S campus Wednesday morning following hours of violent clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators.

"You have a mix of students who just want to be noticed and have a selfie around something they think is significant. And then you have serious, hardcore outsiders who are there for their own agenda," said former FBI official Chris Swecker. "They’re basically hijacking the First Amendment activities onsite. Groups like Antifa, and in this case we’re starting to see mounting evidence of that the number of non-students arrested outnumber the student protestors two to one.”

Protestors were seen wielding sticks amid the chaos as fights broke out, fireworks popped off and pepper spray reportedly permeated the air. It's unclear why law enforcement weren't sent in to tackle the unfolding situation sooner. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass strongly condemned the violence overnight, calling it "absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable."

The week of unrest continued at the University of Arizona where police officers arrested pro-Palestinian protesters.

And across the country, on the East Coast, New York officers breached Hamilton Hall at Columbia University Tuesday night, ordering pro-Palestinian protesters and journalists to disperse.

The day before, on April 29,  the university’s embattled president Nemat Minouche Shafik released a statement that said, “regretfully, we were not able to come to an agreement.” She also requested police retain a presence on campus through May 17, two days after the university's scheduled commencement.

New York officers have arrested about 300 people between Columbia University and the City College of New York campuses, New York Police Commissioner Edward Caban said during a Wednesday morning news conference.

Caban said preliminary charges range from trespassing to criminal mischief, as well as burglary.

"At this point, we'll let the criminal justice system play out," Caban said.

He added that the police department has responded to more than 2,400 protests across the city since October 7.

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