Pomona College completes commencement despite interruption by pro-Palestinian demonstrators near USC

Pro-Palestinian protestors gathered near Shrine Auditorium, causing an interruption of Pomona College’s commencement.

The graduation was scheduled to take place at the auditorium Sunday evening after the school paid $100,000 to move the ceremony from its Claremont campus to the venue close to USC.

The protest also caused a closure of USC’s University Park Campus and nearby USC Village while police tried to have the protesters disperse. The campus and village were reopened Sunday evening.

Demonstrators from the pro-Palestinian group are demanding that Pomona College divest from Israeli-tied companies and weapons manufacturers.

Despite the protest, Pomona College was able to complete the ceremony.

“We were able to honor close to 400 graduates this evening with their loved ones joining them in a packed Commencement ceremony at the historic Shrine Auditorium,” the school said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience of the graduates and families with the shift this year.”

There was a disturbance between police and a group of demonstrators.

The Los Angeles Police Department posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying there was an altercation between a protestor and an officer.

“One group of protesters charged at the responding police officers, and one protester attempted to strike an officer. The resulting police response has reestablished calm, and a small group of protesters remain in the area.

Officers will remain in the area until all participants have safely left. The protester who attempted to strike an officer was arrested for battery on a police officer. Once this suspect has been processed, additional information will be available.”

There have been multiple protests at USC in recent weeks, as pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli groups have converged on the campus.

Last week, LAPD officers in riot gear cleared another encampment formed by pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the campus, as 100 protesters had pitched tents and erected banners at Alumni Park, located at the center of the private university.

USC isn’t the only local college where protestors and counter-protesters have clashed in recent weeks.

At the University of California, Los Angeles, law enforcement was noticeably absent when violence erupted on the campus between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Dozens of counter-protestors, many wearing white masks and flags over their shoulders, arrived around 10:45 p.m. on April 30 and attempted to dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment.

Protests over the war in Gaza have overwhelmed some college campuses across the country. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are divided on how to handle the unrest.

The war in Gaza has continued since October 7 of last year, following the Hamas-led attack on Israel. Roughly 1,200 people were killed, mostly civilians, and several Israeli hostages were also taken.

Israel’s response has been ongoing since the attack, with an estimated 35,000 Palestinians being killed, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza.

The war continued as Israeli forces moved into Rafah Sunday.

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