Pro-Palestinian protests at US colleges persist amid police crackdown

Peaceful protests at US colleges against the Israeli genocidal war in Gaza are being met with police violence and hundreds of arrests against students and faculty.

ByAl Mayadeen English

Amid increasing protests against “Israel’s” genocidal war in Gaza, hundreds of students and faculty from prestigious US universities face off against administrators and security forces despite mass arrests and disciplinary measures.

“The only way to fight for Palestinian liberation is to continue to build worker power” @UAW Local 872 exec board member voices support for the student Gaza solidarity encampment at the University of Southern California.— BreakThrough News (@BTnewsroom) April 27, 2024

Nothing to see here. Just the Georgia police giving Emory University students lessons in tolerance, diversity and freedom of expression!#Zionists #Fascism #GazaHolocaust— Mohamad Al Shami محمد الشامي 🇾🇪🇵🇸 (@mamashami) April 25, 2024

In California, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a “tactical alert” Saturday amid the pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Southern California, reported CNN affiliate KCBS. As of early Sunday, no arrests had been reported.

Read next: Day 204: 34,388 killed, 77,437 injured in Gaza

On Friday night, USC posted a message on social media announcing the temporary closure of the University Park campus due to a “disturbance.”

USC has been the focal point of demonstrations linked to the cancellation of the school’s valedictorian speech and has been part of the nationwide campus protests in support of Palestine.

In recent events, nearly 100 individuals were arrested after the university instructed protesters at Alumni Park on campus to disperse on Wednesday. The demonstrators are advocating for “full amnesty” for those detained and for “no policing on campus.”

This week, the university faced criticism for canceling pro-Palestinian Asna Tabassum’s valedictorian commencement speech and subsequently decided to cancel its main-stage commencement ceremony scheduled for next month citing “security concerns”.

Meanwhile, the slogan “Say No to Genocide” was seen spray-painted on the pedestal of the Tommy Trojan statue at the University of Southern California.

CAUGHT ON VIDEO: A protester spray-painted the words “Say no to genocide” on the base of the Tommy Trojan statue Saturday during a Pro-Palestinian demonstration at USC.— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) April 28, 2024

On Friday, Arizona State University Police apprehended 72 individuals, including 15 students, over an encampment on campus protesting the ongoing Israeli genocidal war on Gaza, as confirmed by university officials on Saturday.
Washington University in St. Louis announced in a statement that over 80 individuals were arrested on Saturday during ongoing Pro-Palestinian protests.

“Standing up to end genocide”: Jill Stein assaulted before being arrested

Jill Stein, a presidential candidate, was among those arrested at Washington University in St. Louis on Saturday, as stated by her campaign’s communications director, who also mentioned that they are currently unaware of any charges against her.

Stein attended the protest to show solidarity with students who had established an encampment and declared their intention to remain until Washington University met various demands, including divestment from Boeing and boycotting Israeli academic institutions.

In a video recorded before her arrest and shared on X, the Green Party candidate expressed her backing for the students and their constitutional right to free speech.

Police shove a bike against 73-year-old Presidential Candidate Jill Stein before dragging her out of the Washington State University student encampment and arresting her— Mnar Adley (@MnarMuh) April 28, 2024

In video footage, police were seen pushing a bicycle against Stein before forcibly removing her from the student encampment and placing her under arrest.

Jill Stein, the Green Party’s candidate for president in the 2024 election, has been arrested.

Last month, the Democrats have announced a plan wage “all-out war against third-party candidates.”

Now Biden, the author of the Gaza genocide, has jailed his political opponent.— Andre Damon (WSWS) (@Andre__Damon) April 28, 2024

“We’re going to stand here in line with the students who are standing up for democracy, standing up for human rights, standing up to end genocide,” Stein said.
On his part, David Schwab, communications director for Jill Stein for President, said, “As Dr. Stein said, it’s shameful that university administrations are condoning the use of force against their own students who are simply calling for peace, human rights, and an end to a genocide that the American people abhor.” 

Here’s the latest from major universities across the US amid ongoing pro-Palestinian protests:

US police made large-scale arrests at universities nationwide, resorting to tactics such as chemical irritants, tasers, and rubber-coated bullets to oppress protesters expressing solidarity with Palestine amid the ongoing Israeli genocidal war on Gaza, now in its 205th day.

Arrests surged over the weekend as demonstrators called for universities to divest from companies with ties to “Israel”, citing profits from the Israeli aggression on Gaza as a central concern.

BREAKING: Georgia Police SHOOTING At Students And University Professors

Students and professors at Emory University are being shot at with rubber bullets in America, for standing against Israel.

This a foreign governments interference into universities.— Khalissee (@Kahlissee) April 25, 2024

Key points:

  • Over 80 individuals were arrested on campuses on Saturday.
  • Northeastern University in Boston witnessed approximately 100 arrests as officials dismantled an encampment.
  • Indiana University Bloomington saw at least 23 arrests after a protest encampment emerged. Police used violence in an attempt to disperse demonstrators.
  • Arizona State University reported 72 arrests on Friday over an encampment on campus.
  • The University of Illinois issued warnings of potential consequences, including arrests and interim suspensions, for participants in on-campus pro-Palestinian demonstrations that commenced Friday.
  • A significant police presence was observed at the University of Southern California on Saturday evening, prompting the temporary closure of the University Park campus due to a “disturbance.”
  • The arrests of protesters and faculty members earlier in the week at Emory University in Atlanta have spurred a faculty movement urging the university president’s resignation.

It is worth noting that the charges of anti-semitism have been rampant in US media in an attempt to silence pro-Palestine positions or any denunciation of the war on Gaza unleashed by the Israeli occupation. 

Instead of upholding their students’ rights to peaceful protest and fostering an environment conducive to First Amendment-protected discourse, US universities succumbed to pressure from affluent donors and congressional members. They opted for cracking down on student demonstrators.