Clashes broke out in Los Angeles Wednesday night outside a screening of Bearing Witness, a grisly 43-minute documentary on the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
Footage aired by local news station ABC7 showed opposing groups punching each other outside the Museum of Tolerance in West L.A.
LAPD officers could be seen in the video trying to calm the situation down. Several people were pepper-sprayed and officers were shown taking people away in handcuffs.
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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass called the violence “unacceptable.”
“We cannot allow current worldwide tension to devolve into this unacceptable violence in our city,” Bass wrote in a statement on social media. “This is a time of immense pain and distress for thousands of Angelenos. We must stand together.”
According to published reports, the documentary was produced by the media unit of the Israel Defense Forces — to bring attention to atrocities committed by Hamas.
The film includes raw footage recorded on body cameras worn by Hamas militants. The movie is said to show disturbing scenes of torture, rape, and murder.
A reporter from the Los Angeles Times attended Wednesday’s screening and said there were about 150 people in the audience. The outlet reported attendees “wept, gasped and cried out” as they watched the gruesome film.
A screening was held Tuesday in New York City, and more showings are being planned in other parts of the U.S.
Israeli actress Gal Godot was said to be involved in organizing the screenings.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, announced a news conference Thursday in Los Angeles to address the clashes along with steps being taken to combat antisemitism.
Tensions have been running high in Southern California and other parts of the U.S., since Hamas launched coordinated attacks on Israel leaving at least 1400 people dead.
According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, more than 10,500 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began carrying out retaliatory attacks.