HomeNewsLocalCriminal Probe Underway After Protesters Vandalize CSULA Building

Criminal Probe Underway After Protesters Vandalize CSULA Building

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A group of pro-Palestine protesters who occupied and extensively vandalized at least one floor of the Student Services Building at Cal State Los Angeles cleared out of the structure early Thursday, and while a criminal investigation was underway, all classes at the campus were being held remotely.

There were no immediate reports of any arrests stemming from the extensive damage inflicted by protesters, including graffiti on walls and furniture, shattered office windows and overturned vending machines. A large amount of trash was strewn about in front of the building. The building’s first- floor windows and walls were sprayed with pro-Palestinian graffiti.

The protest began Wednesday afternoon as activists descended on the building that houses the university president’s office. Some protesters chained themselves together outside the main entrance as others moved inside the building. Others used patio furniture, golf carts and other materials to establish a barricade around the structure. At one point, protesters were seen rolling copy machines in front of the building’s entrance.

University officials issued a campus alert urging anyone inside the building to shelter in place, and telling others to leave the campus.

University spokesman Erik Frost Hollins told reporters Thursday that police were able to escort some employees out of the building within a few hours of the occupation beginning. He said, “Obviously it’s a different and more dangerous situation when you have people in a multi-story building.”

Hollins said university President Berenecea Johnson Eanes was among about 12 administrators who were initially sheltering in place inside the building.

“There were a dozen, then it got down to maybe half a dozen administrators who remained in the building to work the situation throughout the evening,” he said.

Eanes and the remaining administrators left the building shortly after midnight Thursday.

On social media, the protesters said Eanes “continues to dance around and repress our divestment demands,” referencing calls for the university to halt any funding or financial support of businesses tied to Israel.

“We’ve been waiting for a response to our demands for 18 days,” according to the group. “There is no more time to spare while families are being massacred by U.S. Imperialism with each minute that passes.”

Around 1 a.m. Thursday, most protesters left the building voluntarily and returned to an existing encampment on the campus. A remaining handful were coaxed out by university officials a short time later.

The extensive damage from rampant vandalism was left in their wake.

One protester told KTLA5 overnight that Palestine protesters have been peaceful during their demonstrations.

“We haven’t hurt a single person the entire time we’ve been out here,” the protester — wearing a mask to cover her face and providing only her first name — told the station. “And we’ve been negotiating with her (Eanes) in good faith for over a month. She has not been negotiating with us in good faith, that’s the bottom line. If she wants to pretend like we’re a danger to her, you know, I think it’s nefarious really. I think it’s evil.”

Police investigators were in the Student Services Building lobby Thursday morning taking full inventory of the acts of vandalism and damage perpetrated by the protesters, the beginning of a criminal investigation.

One student told reporters the protests were getting out of control.

“I just think it’s pretty selfish of them,” Gilbert Sosa said. “This campus is for everybody. They’re just taking over. I don’t think it’s very appropriate. I don’t think they’re really accomplishing anything either. I’m here, I’m paying to go to school. I’m here to learn, you know, and I can’t today because these guys want to throw a little tantrum.”

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