Timeline: UCLA's night of violence before police moved in

Demonstrators clash at an encampment at UCLA early Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Los Angeles. Dueling groups of protesters have clashed at the University of California, Los Angeles, grappling in fistfights and shoving, kicking and using sticks to beat one another. (AP Photo/Ethan Swope)
Dueling groups of protesters clash Wednesday at UCLA. (Ethan Swope / Associated Press)

UCLA was rocked by violence when a group of counterprotesters arrived on campus Tuesday night and clashed for hours with students who had set up a pro-Palestinian encampment.

It took hours for police to push away the counterprotesters and bring calm to the campus, raising sharp questions about whether the campus was prepared for the unrest. During that time, there was a series of attacks on the camp and fights as the pro-Palestinian group tried to defend their space.

Here's a timeline of what we know. The timestamps are our best approximations based on Times reporting, social media content and official statements:

Protesters hold two sides of a metal barricade
Protesters battle for a fence barricade overnight at UCLA. (Trevor Jackson / For The Times)

10:30 p.m.

Counterprotesters swarm campus.

Pro-Palestinian protesters guard their encampment.
Pro-Palestinian protesters guard their encampment. (Trevor Jackson / For The Times)

11 p.m.

People inside the camp send urgent appeals for help, saying their area is under attack.

Pro-Palestinian protesters try to shore up barrier
Pro-Palestinian protesters try to shore up the barrier to their encampment. (Trevor Jackson / For The Times)

11:15 p.m.

Videos on social media show the camp under siege. People wearing black outfits and white masks are seen trying to tear down the barricades surrounding the encampment. Campers, some holding lumber and wearing goggles and helmets, rally to defend the encampment’s perimeter. Sources told The Times only four police officers were on the scene. The Daily Bruin reports that a small group of university police were on the scene. The paper quotes UCLA Police Chief John Thomas as saying the department had five to six officers on duty at the time. "Officers came under attack while trying to help an injured person, and so they left," the Daily Bruin reports.

11:45 p.m.

Video shows fireworks landing inside the camp and waves of counterprotesters rushing at the barriers that served as the camp boundaries.

A person pours milk into the eyes of another.
Milk is used to soothe the eyes of a protester as pepper spray and other irritants were used. (Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

12:30 a.m.

Violence appears to intensify. Reporters see counterprotesters throwing objects at the camp and its occupants and trying to breach the barrier. Campers use pepper spray to defend themselves and their space, but they also come under assault from some type of spray. The Times records a group of unarmed security guards observing the scene but not intervening. A makeshift medical facility inside the camp is used to treat people for eye irritation and other wounds.

Security personnel stand atop steps at UCLA.
Apex Security Group employees watch as dueling protesters clash at UCLA. (Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

12:45 a.m.

Mary Osako, vice chancellor for UCLA strategic communications, issues a statement saying: “Horrific acts of violence occurred at the encampment tonight and we immediately called law enforcement for mutual aid support. The fire department and medical personnel are on the scene. We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end.” A few minutes later, L.A. Mayor Karen Bass also decries the violence and says the LAPD is assisting.

People reach for an injured person on the ground.
Pro-Palestinian supporters are attacked by counterprotesters at UCLA. (Trevor Jackson / For The Times)

1:40 a.m.

Police officers in riot gear arrive, and some counterprotesters begin to leave. But police do not immediately break up the clashes at the camp, which continued for at least an hour despite law enforcement's presence.

A line of California Highway Patrol officers
California Highway Patrol officers stand guard during an altercation at UCLA. (Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

3 a.m.

Lines of officers from several agencies arrive at the camp and push the remaining counterprotesters out of the quad area.

A woman kneels in front of a row of law enforcement officers.
A woman prays in front of California Highway Patrol officers at UCLA. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

3:45 a.m.

The situation calms, but people in the camp are still dealing with those who were wounded in the attacks.

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.