American Teen Arrested for Hand-to-Hand Fight at UCLA Campus Protest in Gaza

Screenshot, Widely circulated footage of the incident shows a man wearing a light hoodie and a white mask.

  • Author, Max Matza
  • Role, bbc news

Police arrested a teenager accused of attacking pro-Palestinian protesters at a camp at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The attack three weeks ago sparked a fight that ended after more than two hours when police cleared the scene.

The arrest of Edan On, 18, appears to mark the first arrest of a counterprotester linked to the overnight chaos on campus.

On is reportedly the person, in widely seen photos and videos of the melee, seen wearing a white hoodie and mask and hitting protesters with a wooden stick.

Police have not identified the man they arrested by name, but arrest records show that UCLA police took Mr. On into custody Thursday morning.

He was arrested at a business in Beverly Hills and is being held in a Los Angeles County jail.

He faces a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

On’s mother initially said her son was the person seen in the videos wearing the white mask at the protest camp, according to a CNN report earlier this month, although she later said he denied being there.

He said Mr. On was in his last year of high school and plans to join the Israeli army.

His family declined to comment to US media on Friday.

A Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department official told BBC News on Friday that he had been released on bail, pending trial.

According to US media, his bail was set at $30,000 (£24,000).

A letter from the UCLA Office of Campus Safety on Friday confirmed that campus police detectives had helped make “their first arrest in the ongoing investigation into the April 30 assaults that occurred on our campus.”

UCLA “is committed to investigating all reported acts of violence and is actively working to identify other perpetrators of violence associated with protest activities,” the statement continued.

He added that “those who inflicted violence on our community will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

The April 30 clashes lasted hours and sparked intense criticism of university police.

More than 200 pro-Palestinian protesters who did not leave the camp were subsequently arrested.

Earlier this week, the university removed the campus police chief after he came under fire for failing to stop the violence.

Universities across the United States have seen protest movements emerge in opposition to the war in Gaza.

But the violence at UCLA shocked Americans.

It took place just hours after New York City police raided and cleared a Columbia University building taken over by students.

On Thursday, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block testified before Congress in Washington, D.C., about the university’s response to the protests.

As he spoke, protesters on campus set up a second camp, blocking access to buildings and committing acts of vandalism, the university said Friday.

Protesters were told to leave or be arrested, and “voluntarily dispersed,” the university said, adding that no arrests were made.