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USC closes campus 'until further notice' following anti-Israel protest, 93 arrested for trespassing

The University of Southern California announced its campus will remain closed “until further notice” following a large anti-Israel protest on Wednesday that ended with 93 arrested.

The Los Angeles Police Department arrived at campus around 4 p.m. after agitators refused to follow the university’s request to leave the area, Capt. Kelly Muniz said on X, formerly Twitter, Wednesday night.

After hours of clashing with campus police and the LAPD, the protest ended with 93 people arrested for trespassing.

“We haven’t determined if they’re going to be cited out or not. If and when, it is a misdemeanor offense. They are going, and they will be going through the booking process,” Muniz said, adding that the process is “lengthy.” 

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Muniz said there was an altercation in a portion of the protest area that resulted in one arrest for assault with a deadly weapon. She did not clarify what the weapon was or give any details on the incident, but said the rest of the agitators in the area dispersed after the arrest.

When asked if anyone was hurt during the demonstration, Muniz said she was not aware of any injuries to agitators or officers.

The university announced at 11:58 p.m. that the protest was declared over, but campus would be closed “until further notice.”

“The protest on the UPC has ended. However, the campus remains closed until further notice. Students, faculty, staff, and people with business on campus may enter with proper identification,” USC tweeted.

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The protest, called the “Gaza Solidarity Occupation,” began Wednesday morning and was one of many such demonstrations taking place on college campuses across America.

In a letter to the campus community on Wednesday afternoon, USC Provost Andrew Guzman said while the university supports freedom of expression for students, there are guidelines that must be followed in order for a demonstration to take place.

“We have well-established policies regarding limits on the time, place, and manner of free expression,” Guzman wrote. “These include a prohibition on erecting tents or other encampments, use of loudspeakers, signs on poles or stakes, and the disruption of classes and other essential functions of the university.”

He added that the protest outside of Doheny Library, which is “in the center of academic buildings,” appeared to involve many people who are not affiliated with the university.

Students build an anti-Israel encampment at USC

When the agitators were asked “repeatedly” by security to remove their tents and other prohibited items, and then relocate to a “compliant location,” they refused – ultimately leading the university to contact LAPD for reinforcements.

“Their actions have escalated to include acts of vandalism, defacing campus buildings and structures, as well as physical confrontation that threatens the safety of our officers and campus community,” Guzman wrote.

He said the decision to close the gates to campus to unauthorized visitors “until further notice” was made in an effort to “restrict growth of the protest and keep the rest of the campus calm.” The closure does not affect students, staff or others with proper USC identification.

Guzman wrapped up the letter by reminding students that USC “reject[s] speech that is hateful and that causes harm to others.”

“In these challenging times, we call on the Trojan Family to remember that every member of our community is deserving of respect, has the right to be safe on campus, take classes, and participate in other campus activities without fear of harassment or bullying. It should be everyone’s priority to treat each other with kindness and care,” he wrote.

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