Cal State LA protest: Pro-Palestine demonstrators take over, vandalize university building

A group of pro-Palestine protesters who occupied at least one floor of the Student Services Building at Cal State Los Angeles overnight abandoned the barricaded building Thursday, leaving behind a trail of debris and damage in their wake.

Officials said 58 Student Service Building employees were escorted out of the building around 6 p.m. About half a dozen administrators, including the CSULA president, voluntarily stayed until after midnight. They were accompanied by campus police and locked inside a suite of offices. 

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The damage included overturned vending machines, broken furniture and windows and a large amount of trash strewn in front of and around the Student Services Building.

The building's first-floor windows were sprayed with pro-Palestinian graffiti.

CSULA spokesperson Rik Frost Hollins told FOX 11 the damage to the inside of the building was "extensive," but did not provide a dollar amount.

He added that there were between 50 and 100 protesters, but not all of them appeared to be students. 

The group dispersed when police moved in; no arrests were made.

The university sent out an alert to students and staff urging anyone in the building to shelter in place and lock doors, while others were told to avoid the area and leave campus.

On social media, the protesters said university President Berenecea Johnson 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."

Eanes' office is located in the Student Services Building, but it was unclear if she was in her office when the occupation began.

The university announced classes are remote Thursday due to the demonstrations.

The encampment, which is located in a different area, has been here for 40 days with an estimated 10 to 12 people in it.