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Filipina held in UCLA, bewails harrowing ordeal in campus

By Cesar Antonio Nucum Jr.

LOS ANGELES – “I couldn’t believe that the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) administration would approve of such violence and arrest its own students and faculty.”

Thus said Lauren Daus, a second-year Filipina UCLA PhD student in the Urban Schooling Division in the Department of Education, after she and over 200 other students and faculty members were arrested for around six hours on Thursday May 2, after staging rallies and encampment in the campus.   ,


 “I was arrested with a few faculty who I deeply admire for 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,” Daus add 
“Students were trampled over, shoved, pushed to the ground, and shot at with rubber bullets before being arrested,” Daus recalled. “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,” Daus said. “Along with other arrestees, 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.”
 
Daus and company were welcomed by community members who were waiting for them to provide rides home, feed us, and provide us with legal support after they were released around 9 a.m. on Thursday. The protest rfally participants were UCLA students, alumni, and professors and  community members.
 
“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,” Daus declared.
 
Daus said she firmly believes that as the number one public university in the U.S., “UCLA needs to stop being complicit in the genocide of Palestinian people.”
 
She said: “As a student collective(ly) fighting for the liberation of Palestine, we have five demands for UCLA: (1) DIVEST funds from companies and institutions that support Israeli occupation, (2) DISCLOSE all assets such investments, donations, and grants for full transparency, (3) ABOLISH the heavy policing of Pro-Palestinian advocacy on campus and cut all ties with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as more cops on campus do not make us feel safe, (4) call for an immediate CEASEFIRE, and (5) BOYCOTT by severing all UC-wide connections to Israeli universities, programs, fellowships, and collaborations, such as UCLA’s Nazarian Center.”
 
Daus said she also believes this is not a conflict but 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 marks 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,” Daus said.
 
At the moment, Daus could not commit to having a dialog as she has been “channeling my energy to organize with other students, faculty, and community members in continuing to fight for UCLA’s divestment and fight against UCLA’s complicities in genocide.”  
 
In what turned out to be a traumatic experience for Daus and company, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested 210 participants 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,” lamented Daus. “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 genocide and the militarization of our campus.”
 
At that instance, Daus was reminded of the many times students have always 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,” Daus said a she comforted herself.
 
Suddenly drawing a parallel, Daus sees that the struggles of Palestine and the Philippines as 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,” Daus concluded.

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