Fil-Am student arrested at UCLA explains why they’re protesting

Fil-Am PhD student arrested at UCLA explains why they’re protesting

Exclusive interview with UCLA student Lauren Daus
/ 07:00 AM May 20, 2024

UCLA protest

Police in riot gear arrest protesters at UCLA. CONTRIBUTED

SAN FRANCISCO – Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have recently rocked college campuses, and police have arrested more than 2,000 protesters nationwide.

Students and faculty at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), including Filipino Americans, were calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war and divestment from companies supporting Israel’s military efforts in Gaza.

Most of the rally participants declined to be interviewed for fear of retaliation by the university, but one Fil-Am protester courageously stepped forward and gave us an interview to shed light on why students have participated in rallies and encampments.

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Lauren Daus is a PhD student in the Urban Schooling Division, Department of Education at UCLA.

Q: Why have you staged protest rallies and set up encampments on campus?

A: As the No. 1 public university in the United States, UCLA needs to stop being complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people. As a student collective fighting for the liberation of Palestine, we have five demands:

  • Divest funds from companies and institutions that support Israeli occupation.
  • Disclose all assets such as investments, donations and grants for full transparency
  • Abolish the heavy policing of Pro-Palestinian advocacy on campus and cut all ties with the LAPD (more cops on campus do not make us feel safe).
  • Call for an immediate ceasefire (in Gaza).
  • Boycott by severing all UC-wide connections to Israeli universities, programs, fellowships and collaborations, such as UCLA’s Nazarian Center.

I believe (what’s happening in Gaza) is not a conflict. This is a war on Gaza in which over 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 14,500 children as of May 7, 2024, which marked seven months of this ongoing genocide.

We have been witnessing a genocide happening right in front of our eyes for the past seven months. College students across the country are mobilizing their power to speak out and stand against white supremacy, imperialism and repression. The same fascist tactics being used to execute a genocide in Gaza are being used to silence and repress college students across the nation. Our struggle and fight for liberation are tied together.

UCLA encampment

Tents and trash are left behind at the site of a pro-Palestinian encampment which was cleared by police overnight on the UCLA campus, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Q: Who are the rally/encampment participants?


A: Participants range from UCLA students, alumni and professors to community members.

Q: Can you tell us what happened when law enforcement officers dismantled the encampments and share your thoughts on this incident?

A: The California Highway Patrol (CHP) made 210 arrests (myself included) at UCLA’s Palestine solidarity encampment early Thursday morning, May 2, 2024. Despite peacefully protecting our encampment with wooden and human barricades, CHP violently stormed our encampment with rubber bullets, flashbangs and batons.

It is a complete disgrace that UCLA’s administration would rather call in the police to inflict violence on their own students and faculty than engage with our demands to stop being complicit in the genocide (in Gaza) and the militarization of our campus.

We are reminded of the many times students have resisted UC war profiteering, such as in 1985, when UCLA students and community members fought for divestment from the apartheid in South Africa, eventually forcing UC regents to divest from the apartheid in 1986.

From the unwavering mobilization of students, we are continuing to learn the importance of abolishing the police, divesting from war and continuing to hold onto our collective liberation. We are the ones who protect each other and we are the ones who keep us safe.

Q: Can you share more details about your arrest and the arrests of other students?

A: My initial reaction was that I couldn’t believe that UCLA’s administration would approve of such violence and arrest its own students and faculty.

I was arrested with a few faculty members and I deeply admire the way they stood up for us students, consistently telling CHP not to harm students, that students were unarmed and that there was no reason for them to respond with batons, flashbangs and rubber bullets.

Yet, students were trampled over, shoved, pushed to the ground and shot at with rubber bullets before being arrested. I was also reflecting on how police have been violently responding to the encampments across the nation.

This tells us that police are not here to protect us. I was detained for almost six hours. I was so upset that it took so long for them to process our information. I could barely move my arms the moment they removed the zip ties from my wrists.

When we were released around 9 a.m. on Thursday, we were welcomed by community members who were waiting for us to provide rides home, feed us and provide us with legal support.

My experience has definitely motivated and inspired me even more to continue fighting for the liberation of Palestine and for the liberation of college students who have been subjected to institutional violence. We take care of each other and are willing to do what it takes to stand against the dehumanization of all peoples.

Q: Any other insights on the issues you have mentioned?

A: The struggles of Palestine and the Philippines are interconnected. In the Philippines, we see the violent repression of people fighting for their basic needs. It is vital that our mass mobilization continues, to struggle towards collective liberation for all.

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TAGS: Fil-Am, protest, UCLA
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