US teen arrested for melee at UCLA Gaza protest

Police have arrested a teenager accused of attacking pro-Palestinian protesters on the campus of the University of Los Angeles (UCLA). The attack three weeks ago led to a fight that ended after more than two hours when police cleared the scene. The arrest of 18-year-old Edan Oni appears to mark the first arrest of a counter-protester in connection with the night’s chaos on campus. Herra On is said to be the person seen in widely shared melee photos and videos wearing a white hood and mask and beating protesters with a wooden stick. The police did not identify the man they arrested, but arrest records show UCLA police took Mr. Oni into custody Thursday morning. He was arrested at a Beverly Hills business and is being held in the Los Angeles County Jail. He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the LA County Sheriff’s Department. According to a CNN report earlier this month, Mr. Oni’s mother initially said her son was the person wearing the white mask at the protest camp, but later said he denied being there. He said Mr. On was in his last high school and planned to join the Israeli army. His family declined to comment to US media on Friday. An LA Sheriff’s Department official told BBC News on Friday that he had been released on bail pending trial. According to US media, his bond was set at $30,000 (£24,000). A letter from UCLA’s Office of Campus Safety on Friday confirmed that detectives from the campus police force made “their first arrest in an ongoing investigation into an assault that occurred on our campus on April 30.” UCLA “is committed to investigating all reported acts of violence and is actively working to identify other acts of violence related to protest activity,” the statement continued. It added that “those who committed violence against our community will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” The clashes on April 30 lasted for hours and led to severe criticism of the university’s police force. More than 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who did not leave the camp were later arrested. Earlier this week, the university fired the campus police chief after criticism of his failure to stop the violence. Colleges in the United States protested the war against Gaza. But the UCLA violence shocked Americans. This happened just hours after New York police attacked and cleared a Columbia University building occupied by students. On Thursday, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block testified at a congressional hearing in Washington about the university’s response to the protests. During his speech, protesters set up another camp on campus, blocked access to buildings and vandalized the campus, the university said Friday. The protesters were told to leave or face arrest and willingly dispersed, the university said, adding that no arrests were made..

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