Police Disperse Pro-Palestinian Protests at U.S. Universities, Dozens Arrested

Pro-Palestinian protest encampments at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were dismantled by the police on Friday, resulting in multiple arrests.

This action was carried out in a manner consistent with previous enforcement efforts that took place earlier in the week at the University of Arizona and other campuses throughout the United States.

In Philadelphia, law enforcement officers, along with campus police at Penn, took action at dawn to disperse a protest encampment that had been set up for more than two weeks. According to school officials, protesters were given warnings and the chance to disperse voluntarily before arrests were made.

According to Penn authorities, a total of 33 individuals, including faculty members and seven students, were arrested and charged with trespassing. However, it was later clarified that only nine of those arrested were students, while the rest were individuals not associated with any educational institution.

While clearing the encampment, the police came across some heavy chains and smaller chains with nuts and bolts. These items were considered to have the potential to be used as weapons.

Protest camps have been springing up in various locations in the U.S. and Europe as of late. Students are passionately calling for their universities to cut ties with Israel or any companies that support its military operations. Organisers aim to raise awareness about Israel’s actions in Gaza, which they view as a grave humanitarian crisis affecting Palestinians.

Riot police were dispatched to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at around 4 a.m. to disband a protest encampment. Ten students who chose to stay were subsequently arrested. Despite the dispersal, authorities intervened to disperse a crowd outside the camp that was chanting pro-Palestinian slogans.

Police at the University of Arizona in Tucson took action against protesters, using tear gas to disperse them and dismantle their encampment on Thursday. The incident took place right before the university’s main commencement ceremony. Two people were arrested, and the event went ahead as scheduled on Friday night.

Thirteen individuals were apprehended by the police on Thursday night at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Their refusal to leave a building that had been damaged and vandalised led to their arrest. The charges varied from minor trespassing to more serious battery on a peace officer.

As a way to prevent any disturbances during graduation ceremonies, the protesters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have reached an agreement to permanently dismantle their encampment.

Meanwhile, graduates from Pomona College in Southern California will be attending their commencement ceremony at a venue in Los Angeles, as administrators aim to prevent any disruptions caused by an ongoing encampment on campus.

The protest movement started almost three weeks ago at Columbia University in New York City, and has since spread to other campuses. While some universities were more lenient towards the protests, others took a stricter approach by involving the police. Their reasoning was centred around campus safety and the potential disruptions to academic activities.

Since April 18, the Associated Press has reported on at least 75 cases of arrests occurring at U.S. campus protests, resulting in the apprehension of nearly 2,900 individuals across 57 colleges and universities.

Arizona State University has confirmed that its campus police chief has been placed on paid administrative leave. This decision comes as the university conducts a review of complaints regarding his actions during a pro-Palestinian rally that took place two weeks ago.

Even though their encampment was dispersed, the demonstrators at George Washington University remain determined to continue their protest campaign. Despite multiple attempts by the police to clear the camp at MIT earlier in the week, organisers are unwavering in their demand for the university to cut all connections with the Israeli military.

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