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University of Arizona police forced to deploy ‘chemical munitions’ to break up anti-Israel riot

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Officers at the University of Arizona were forced to deploy tear gas or another chemical agent to disperse anti-Israel protests on the campus, officials said.

In the early hours of Friday morning, University of Arizona Police declared an unlawful assembly at University Park and urged people to “leave immediately” or “avoid the area” entirely. Later, the police department’s X account and website confirmed “chemical munitions” were deployed.

“Police instructing unlawful assembly to disperse. Chemical munitions deployed. Avoid the area & follow directions of police,” they tweeted.

The boisterous law enforcement effort comes just days after police in riot gear surrounded an anti-Israel encampment and arrested several people early Wednesday at the university in Tucson. At the time, President Robert Robbins directed school officials to “immediately enforce campus use policies.”

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Protesters at Arizona State University

Students gather for an anti-Israel demonstration, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the terror group Hamas at the Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.  (REUTERS/Liliana Salgado)

On Friday morning, agitators on the campus formed a raucous riot and officers quickly responded.

Arizona state Sen. Justine Wadsack, a Republican who represents the 17th District, called for “mass arrests” for the “disorderly” demonstration.

When a user of X challenged her about whether the protesters were “committing actual crimes,” she claimed several people had assaulted police. She also said participants were “trespassing” and “committing disorderly conduct.”

A protester, Palestinian flag

Arizona state Sen. Justine Wadsack said the demonstration was “not a peaceful protest” and said participants were “trespassing” and “committing disorderly conduct.” (REUTERS/Liliana Salgado)

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“This is not a peaceful protest when they are trespassing, stealing fencing for barriers, committing disorderly conduct, assaulting police by throwing frozen water bottles at their heads, spraying people with a mixture of CocaCola & yeast while shooting off fireworks!” Wadsack tweeted.

Police at another campus in Arizona earlier this week also cleared out encampments and arrested anti-Israel protesters.

University of Arizona entrance

Police at another university in Arizona earlier this week also cleared out encampments and arrested anti-Israel protesters. (Epics/Getty Images)

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And about 20 people were arrested at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff on Tuesday night on trespassing charges. Police dismantled a small fence made of chicken wire as well as nearly two dozen tents.

Anti-Israel demonstrations were also held last week at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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