California university moves classes online after demonstrations over conflict in Gaza


A person is seen near barricades set up by pro-Palestinian protesters in front of the Student Services Building at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA), in Los Angeles, California, the United States, on June 13, 2024. [Xinhua]

California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA), in the western U.S. state of California, announced on Thursday that all classes and operations on the university's main campus will be held remotely until further notice after a night of demonstrations over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

"Please do not come to main campus," the Los Angeles school noted in a protest action alert on its website.

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters took over the university's student services building, which includes the office of the university's president, on Wednesday afternoon. Some school administrators were reportedly trapped inside the building after the university urged employees to shelter in place.

Social media posts showed protesters fortifying their barricades outside the building at night as they waited for President of Cal State LA Berenecea Johnson Eanes to negotiate with them.

By Thursday morning, the group had dispersed from the building, but they left behind significant damage outside and inside the building, reported local KABC television station, adding that pro-Palestinian graffiti covered many windows on the ground floor, and video from inside showed shattered windows, more graffiti and debris scattered throughout.

The protest came two days after 25 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Monday by police at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Students set up a "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" at Cal State LA on May 1, calling for the university and its partners to divest from doing business with Israel.

With 23 campuses enrolling almost 458,000 students and 53,000 faculty and staff, California State University is the largest public university system in the United States. It is one of three public higher education systems in California, which also includes the University of California and the California Community Colleges, according to the university's website. 

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