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Thursday, May 23, 2024

USA. Protests and clashes at universities. Arrests on 26 campuses

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Protests have been going on at universities across the United States for two weeks. Some were directed against Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip – others as a response to anti-Israeli statements by groups supporting the Palestinians. In total, more than 1,000 protesters have been arrested on at least 26 campuses. On Tuesday afternoon and overnight, violent clashes broke out at Columbia University in New York and the University of California, Los Angeles.

A total of over 1,000 protesters were arrested in states such as Texas, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Connecticut, Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey.

The correspondent of “Fakty” TVN, Marcin Wrona, reported on the protest on the campus of the University of Washington in the American capital. He said that over 100 people participated in it on Wednesday.

– The street leading through the campus has been blocked with tents for several days. Tents are also located in the park, which is right in the center of this university. For many days, we have been hearing requests from both the city authorities and the university authorities to ask people who are here in tents to remove themselves from the public area. For now, the police are very discreetly monitoring what is happening here, he reported.

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Protest on the University of Washington campusTVN24

Clashes with police in New York and Los Angeles

On Tuesday, the NYPD concluded occupation of a building at Columbia University and detained participants of pro-Palestinian demonstrations. The university authorities called the officers for help that day. The New York Times reported that police officers broke a window and entered Hamilton Hall, then led protesters away to law enforcement buses. The decision to call the police, made by Columbia's president, Egyptian-born American Muslim Minouche Shafik, was condemned by students, professors and some politicians. They considered the arrests and suspensions of students as violating freedom of speech on university campuses. There are voices calling for Shafik to step down.

Columbia University authorities believe that Hamilton Hall was broken into by a group led by people unrelated to the university – said the mayor of New York in an interview with CBS.

There was also a scuffle with police a few blocks from Columbia, at the main gate to City College. After making the arrests, police officers removed the Palestinian flag from the flagpole on campus and replaced it with an American one.

Police intervention at Columbia UniversityPAP/EPA/STEPHANI SPINDEL

A few hours later, violent clashes broke out on the other side of the US – on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. – There were terrible acts of violence on campus this evening. We immediately called the security authorities for help, said the university's vice-chancellor Mary Osako. The Los Angeles mayor's office notified on the X platform that the police responded immediately to the request of the university authorities. According to reports on social media, pro-Israel demonstrators attacked pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The clashes allegedly took place after the “buffer zone” between the groups, i.e. the barriers separating them, was violated.

Joe Biden's reaction

The White House said Wednesday that President Joe Biden is being updated on developments at universities.

“President Joe Biden believes that students occupying academic buildings is an absolutely inappropriate approach and is not an example of peaceful protest,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby previously said.

Reuters writes that student protests “have also acquired political overtones” in the run-up to November's US presidential election, with Republicans accusing some university administrators of turning a blind eye to anti-Semitic rhetoric and persecution.

Detention of participants of a pro-Palestinian protest STEPHANI SPINDEL/PAP/EPA

Wave of protests after the Hamas attack and Israel's response

Pro-Palestinian protests at American universities in the US began immediately after the attack on Israel by the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas; approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed during the attack, and over 240 were abducted to the Gaza Strip. The organizers of the protests spoke out against the actions of the Israeli military in the Strip and demanded the creation of a Palestinian state. Demonstrations have spread to numerous universities across the country, and have intensified in recent weeks when university authorities responding to accusations in the US Congress of tolerating anti-Semitic speeches during the protests promised to suppress them.

List of universities

Below is a list of American universities where arrests were made following demonstrations organized there.

California Polytechnic State University Humboldt University of Southern California

Arizona State University

University of Colorado

New Mexico:
New Mexico State University

University of Texas at Austin

Tulane University

University of Minnesota

Washington University in St. Louis

Illinois State University

Indiana: Indiana University

Emory University University of Georgia

University of Florida University of South Florida University of Florida

New York:
Columbia UniversityPrinceton University

Virginia Commonwealth University

North Carolina:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

South Carolina:
University of South Carolina

Northeastern University Yale University Emerson College

PAP, Reuters, “New York Times”


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