UCLA protests, Day 2: Inside look at fenced-in pro-Palestine demonstrations

A camp-in protest continues at UCLA after students and organizers setup camp early Thursday morning.

The camp received upgrades overnight and is now surrounded by metal fencing and private security workers. Inside the fenced-off area in the quad, there’s now a buffet table, reading library area, and medical tent.

"We’re really trying to focus on our cause and get UCLA to divest," said Kaia Shah, a protest organizer and researcher at UCLA.

Organizers from Students for Justice in Palestine and the UC Divest Coalition at UCLA want the university to divest any funds directed towards Israel. In addition, they’d like UCLA to publicly announce a cease fire in the Israel-Hamas War.

"We have not heard from UCLA," said Shah. "The administration likes to play blind and death to our protest."

Only a select few people demonstrating are allowed to talk with reporters. In addition, reporters must go through a "media check-in" table. No media is allowed inside the camp.

"You have to talk to the media training people, that’s what they let us know," said one protester.

FOX 11 asked Shah, if the demonstrators denounced Hamas. A question which they wouldn’t directly answer.

"Our concern and our priority is the genocide happening now in Gaza," said Shah.

Outside the camp are several counter-protesters and people supporting Israel, including some current and former Jewish UCLA students.

"I’m an alumni here. My brother goes here. He came home last night [and said] he just didn’t feel like he was on a peaceful safe campus," said Jasmine Tavakoli.

Milagro Jones, a student, tried walking through the camp-in on campus Friday without "checking in" with demonstrators. Immediately, he was surrounded, and protesters tried blocking cameras from recording the incident.

"Bro said, "You look Israeli", recalled Jones. "I’m like, I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult the way you’re saying it. Like, are you trying to say I look good?"

Sky Fox was above as Jones sat down. After nearly an hour, he stood up and left the camp.

"I was trying to prove a point that if I’m a student, I can go anywhere on campus I want to go," said Jones.

A handful of UCLA staff members also are standing nearby, holding a banner close to the demonstration.

"What really makes me be here is I don’t want our students to be arrested in mass," said Michael Chwe, a political science professor.

Mary Osako, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications at UCLA, provided the written statement below to FOX 11.

"Yesterday morning, demonstrators established a physical encampment on a lawn in Royce quad, joining similar groups that have set up presences at universities across the country," said Osako. "UCLA’s approach to the encampment is guided by several equally important principles: the need to support the safety and wellbeing of Bruins, the need to support the free expression rights of our community, and the need to minimize disruption to our teaching and learning mission. These same long-standing principles have allowed UCLA to uphold a history of peaceful protest. It’s also important to note that we are following University of California systemwide policy guidance, which directs us not to request law enforcement involvement preemptively, and only if absolutely necessary to protect the physical safety of our campus community. We’ve taken several steps to help ensure people on campus know about the demonstration so they can avoid the area if they wish. This includes having student affairs representatives stationed near Royce quad to let Bruins and visitors know about the encampment, redirect them if desired and to serve as a resource for their needs."