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Protesters Clash With Police as U.C. Irvine Encampment Is Cleared

Dozens of police officers moved in Wednesday to clear a protest encampment in the center of the University of California, Irvine campus. The university said on Thursday that protesters and officers had clashed, and that 50 people were arrested.

The police moved in after hundreds of protesters surrounded a lecture hall near the encampment, and some demonstrators barricaded themselves inside the building. Sheriff’s officers, campus law enforcement officers and police officers from eight other agencies around Orange County, Calif., took part in the clearance operation.

The police began arresting protesters at the lecture hall, where they had gathered for a rally, after they refused to comply with a dispersal order, according to Thomas Vasich, a spokesman for the university. He said that one student was injured in the clashes that followed and that three police officers were taken to a hospital. As of Thursday morning, two of the officers had been released, Mr. Vasich said.

The chancellor of the university, Howard Gillman, wrote in a letter to the campus community Wednesday evening that he had been “prepared to allow a peaceful encampment to exist on the campus without resorting to police intervention,” but that by occupying a building, protesters had transformed “a manageable situation that did not have to involve police into a situation that required a different response.”

Protesters at U.C. Irvine have called for the university to divest itself from investments in companies that profit from the war in Gaza, to disclose the university’s assets and investments, and to end joint academic programs with Israel, among other demands.

By 9 p.m. Wednesday evening, the encampment at U.C. Irvine had mostly been cleared. The university moved all classes on Thursday to remote instruction, but planned to return to in-person instruction on Friday.

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