675 Students Arrested Across US Campuses as Pro-Palestine Protests Continue

United States Palestine North America Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Apr 28, 2024

people protesting for Palestine

A total 675 students have been arrested in at least 15 universities in the United States as student protests against Israel’s war in Gaza continue.

Students set up camps across university campuses in support of Palestine. They have been demanding their institutions stop doing business with Israeli companies that support military actions in Gaza.

The first protest that sparked the student revolt started at Columbia University on April 17, Erudera.com reports.

A group of Columbia students set up about 50 tents on the campus, calling on the university to cut financial ties with companies linked to Israel, which, according to them, are profiting from the war in Gaza. This protest led to the arrest of more than 100 students on charges of trespassing after the university called the police to empty the encampment of pro-Palestine protesters.

Following these developments, Columbia University in New York City soon announced that it would hold classes virtually until the situation on campus de-escalates, citing concerns for Jewish students' safety. University officials gave the protesters until this Friday to reach an agreement and end encampment on the school’s main lawn. Students responded to this request with: “There is no deadline; there is a timeline.”

On Friday, the school senate approved a resolution to examine how the university leadership should handle these demonstrations. Negotiations between the university and the protesters continued while no more arrests were reported at this university.

"I very much hope these discussions are successful. If they are not, we will have to consider alternative options for clearing the West Lawn and restoring calm to campus so that students can complete the term and graduate.

I am deeply sensitive to the fact that graduating seniors spent their first year attending Columbia remotely. We all very much want these students to celebrate their well-deserved graduation with family and friends,” President of Columbia University Minouche Shafik said in a statement on April 23.

Protesters said that talks with the administrators had not progressed and that they would continue the encampment until Columbia divests.

In solidarity, protests spread to other campuses, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and New York University (NYU), where more arrests followed. About 60 protesters, including more than 40 students, were arrested at Yale on April 22 after refusing to leave the encampment at Beinecke Plaza.

On the same day, April 22, a total of 120 protesters were arrested at New York University. While others were released on trespassing summonses, four of them face criminal charges.

“We will continue to support individuals’ right to freedom of expression, and, as we have said since October, the safety of our students and maintaining an equitable learning environment remain paramount,” NYU spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement on Monday night.

At Emory University, dozens of protesters were arrested following confrontations with police; among them, at least two professors, including Caroline Fohlin, an economics professor, who was violently arrested after trying to intervene during the arrest of another protester.

Head of the Philosophy Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Noelle McAfee, was also taken away in handcuffs after trying to stop police from beating one of the students.

Students at the following campuses have also joined the call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war:

  • Arizona State University
  • Brown University
  • Emerson College
  • Emory University
  • Indiana University
  • Northeastern University
  • Ohio State University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas - Austin
  • Washington University in St. Louis

Over 34,00 Palestinians have been killed and 77,575 wounded in Gaza since October 7, when the Israel-Hamas war began.

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>> Over 100 People Arrested at 2 More US Universities Amid Wave of Student-led Protests Against War in Gaza

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