Mass arrests across US universities as pro-Palestine protests intensify

Several protesters were arrested from many US universities on Wednesday as pro-Palestine protests intensified. Videos showed hundreds of state troopers and police with batons trying to disperse protesters at the University of Texas and the University of Southern California.
Mass arrests across US universities as pro-Palestine protests intensify
Jaano Junction

Mass protests across several US university campuses over Israel's war with Gaza intensified on Wednesday after police cracked down on the protesters, arresting many. The stir that was so far focused at Columbia University has now spread to at least five universities, including Ivy League schools Harvard and Yale.

As many as 34 students were arrested at the University of Texas's Austin campus after 100 state troopers and some locals arrived at the scene. Similar scenes unfolded at the University of Southern California as police arrested a Palestinian student organiser, with videos showing cops bringing out their batons to take control of the situation.

At Harvard, pro-Palestinian protesters stormed the campus to set up encampments, days after the university restricted access to the Yard - the oldest campus - to only Harvard ID holders.

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Mass arrests across US universities as pro-Palestine protests intensify

The protesters at the University of Texas's Austin campus demanded that the varsity divest from manufacturers supplying Israel weapons in its ongoing war with Gaza. The stir initially began at a gym, but by lunchtime, around 200 students had assembled, The Independent reported.

The protest was organised by the university's Palestinian Solidarity Committee, according to The Texas Tribune. Nearly 100 state troopers arrived there to stop the demonstrations, with the UT Division of Student Affairs issuing a statement saying the stir was not backed by the University of Texas.

Over 100 students put up tents, banners and signs at the centre of the University of Southern California (USC) campus. A demonstration there took a chaotic turn as students and officers of USC's Department of Public Safety clashed. Later, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) were called in for backup.

Around 300 people were reported to be protesting on the grounds of the University of Southern California and the LAPD, after arriving, closed the campus to anyone without a university ID, The Independent reported.

Hundreds of students stormed Harvard University's Yard campus and placed tents as part of an "emergency rally" against the varsity's suspension of a student group, the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, The New York Times reported. This came after the university restricted access to the Yard to only Harvard ID holders and faculty.

Students at Columbia University booed US House Speaker Mike Johnson as he visited the epicentre of the nationwide protest on Wednesday, even as the Ivy League school agreed to 48 additional hours of negotiation to end the chaos. He spoke from the library steps, but students from nearby encampments paid little heed and his address was marred by boos.

Mike Johnson called on Columbia University president Minouche Shafik to resign for her "failure" to protect Jewish students, who reportedly told the US House Speaker that they felt unsafe. However, his address was met with chants of "we can't hear you".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the US universities' pro-Palestine protests "horrific" and said "more has to be done" to stop them. He accused "antisemitic mobs" of taking over leading American universities and called for the protests to be "condemned unequivocally".

Other demonstrations were held at Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, California State Polytechnic in Humboldt, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The White House, meanwhile, has condemned the protests, saying that echoing the "rhetoric of terrorist organisations", especially in the wake of the "worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable".

Source: India Today

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