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Twenty students were arrested at Pomona College Friday evening after pro-Palestinian protesters occupied the office of president Gabrielle Starr, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The protesters were part of the Pomona Divest from Apartheid coalition, according to a press release from the group, which has been urging college administrators to divest from Israel and weapons manufacturers as the war in Gaza stretches into its seventh month.

Members have staged peaceful protests since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, NBC Los Angeles reported, but tensions escalated Friday after Pomona officials began dismantling a 32-foot-long “apartheid wall” students had erected, bearing messages including “Disrupt the Death Machine” and “Apartheid College; We are all Complicit.”

Demonstrators from Pomona and the other Claremont Colleges gathered to protest the wall’s removal, chanting slogans such as, “Israel bombs, Pomona pays. How many kids will you kill today?” and “Gaza, Gaza, head held high, we will never let you die,” the L.A. Times reported.

Around 4 p.m. a group of students stormed the main administration building and took over Starr's office.

In a letter to the campus community, the president noted that the protesters wore masks, refused to identify themselves to campus officials and even used “a sickening, anti-black racial slur” to address an administrator. She wrote that such actions constituted part of “an escalating series of incidents on our campus, which has included persistent harassment of visitors for admission tours.”

About 20 police cars swarmed the scene and officers in riot gear entered the building. Nineteen students were charged with trespassing, and one with obstruction of justice, the Claremont Police Department reported.

All charges were dropped a few hours later, but the Pomona students involved were suspended; the others, mostly from Scripps and Pitzer Colleges, were banned from the Pomona campus and would be “subject to discipline on their own campuses,” Starr wrote in her message.

(This story has been corrected to say that the students were suspended, not expelled.)