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Police descend on UC Irvine campus as protesters occupy conference hall

Protesters entered the physical sciences lecture hall on the UC Irvine campus.

Tensions on the University of California Irvine campus escalated Wednesday when a group of several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters entered a conference room and surrounded the building, according to school officials.

The Irvine Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department were called to the scene after the university called for mutual aid from local law enforcement, UC Irvine said in a emergency update.

Authorities have begun making arrests, although their number is unknown during the active situation.

The police begin to tear down the barricades of the encampment and move into the building.

Protesters entered the physical sciences lecture hall on the UC Irvine campus around 2:30 p.m. local time, according to the university.

Classes for the remainder of the day were canceled and school officials urged anyone in the immediate area to evacuate until further notice.

“Anyone currently in buildings near the protest is advised to exit the buildings and leave the area,” UC Irvine wrote in a statement. update on. “Please disregard all previous orders to shelter in place. If possible, please leave immediately and continue to avoid the protest area until further notice.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been present on the UC Irvine campus since an encampment was established on April 29, according to the university.

Wednesday’s unrest comes amid weeks of protests that have erupted at universities across the country, calling on institutions to divest from companies that financially support Israel.

On Tuesday, UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher announced that investments by companies targeted by students in their call for divestment amounted to $32 billion, or nearly a fifth of the system’s overall assets. UC.

Last month, the president of the University of California said the institutions would not boycott or divest from Israel.

ABC News’ Marilyn Heck and Vanessa Navarrete contributed to this report.

News Source : abcnews.go.com
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