Many arrested in US campuses during pro-Palestine protests

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By Creative Media News

  1. UVA arrests 25 pro-Palestine demonstrators amid campus tensions
  2. Campuses nationwide witness protests over Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  3. Ole Miss incident sparks outrage over racial discrimination on campus

Police have cleared an encampment at the University of Virginia (UVA) and arrested at least twenty-five pro-Palestinian demonstrators, as campuses across the United States prepare for additional unrest during commencement ceremonies. 

At UVA’s campus in Charlottesville, where demonstrations had been predominantly nonviolent until Saturday morning, when footage captured police officers in riot gear circling an encampment on the lawn, cuffing some protesters with zip ties, and allegedly spraying chemical spray, tensions escalated. 

Deployments of students and tent-building at dozens of universities throughout the United States have occurred in opposition to the protracted conflict in Gaza and to demand that President Joe Biden, who has backed Israel, do more to end the violence in the region. 

Furthermore, they require their educational institutions to divest from corporations that provide armament to Israel or support the government. 

Protesters, according to a statement from the UVA, violated several university regulations, including the establishment of tents on Friday night and the use of amplified sound. 

Officials have learned that “individuals unaffiliated with the university” who posed “some safety concerns” have joined the demonstrators on campus, according to a message from UVA President Jim Ryan. 

Initially, it was unknown what proportion of those detained were students from UVA. 

A group known as UVA Encampment for Gaza, which claimed to have established the encampment earlier this week, condemned the university’s decision to summon the police in an Instagram post. 

The Chicago Police Department reported on X that dozens of individuals were arrested for “criminal trespass” on Saturday during a demonstration outside the Art Institute of Chicago. The institute had called in the police to remove demonstrators who were allegedly unlawfully occupying its property. 

Confrontations did not escalate into arrests elsewhere. University of Michigan commencement was momentarily disrupted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Ann Arbor. The university in question, along with numerous others, modified its security protocols to accommodate graduation ceremonies. 

Dozens of students brandishing Palestinian flags and donning the traditional keffiyeh headdress and graduation caps as they descended the centre aisle of Michigan Stadium to the applause and censure of thousands of spectators were captured on social media. 

As per a university spokesperson, Colleen Mastony, while campus police escorted the protestors to the rear of the stadium as the ceremony continued, no arrests were reported. 

Mastony said in a statement, “Peaceful demonstrations of this nature have occurred at University of Michigan commencement ceremonies for decades.” “Freedom of expression and speech is a value upheld by the university, and administrators are ecstatic that today’s commencement was such a moment of pride and success.” 

A frequently heard refrain among protesters at the University of Michigan was “Divulge, divest.” “We will not rest or cease our efforts,” John Hendren of Al Jazeera, reporting from Ann Arbor, stated. 

“Faculty and students with whom we’ve spoken report receiving no satisfactory response regarding efforts to engage students regarding their demands. “The university has not consented to the disclosure of its Israeli investments,” he stated. 

Over the past few weeks, contrasting perspectives regarding Israel’s war in Gaza have occasionally erupted violently on college campuses in the United States. Police have been called upon by several institutions, including Columbia University in New York City, to suppress the demonstrations. 

More than 2,000 demonstrators have been apprehended by law enforcement thus far at colleges across the nation. 

In response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza, where more than 34,000 Palestinians have been slain by Israeli forces since October and the Palestinian enclave has been levelled in what human rights experts have termed a genocide, antiwar demonstrations are taking place in the United States. 

The attacks began on October 7, when the Palestinian organization Hamas launched an unprecedented assault within Israel, in which nearly 1,200 people were slain, according to Israeli authorities. 

Appalled by the Ole Miss incident

In this profoundly divisive and fiercely contested year of US elections, campus demonstrations have emerged as a novel political flashpoint. 

A larger throng presented counter-protesters at the University of Mississippi, colloquially referred to as “Ole Miss,” where they sang the national anthem and carried American flags in response to a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Thursday. 

Ole Miss, the preeminent institution of higher education in the state, was the subject of extensive indignation and censure after the circulation of a video that went viral and captured a majority-white student body mocking a black female demonstrator. 

Certain individuals vocalized discriminatory comments, and one can be overheard making monkey-like sounds at the African American student. 

While the chancellor of the university condemned the incident’s “racist overtones” and stated that an investigation was underway, Georgia Republican Representative Mike Collins uploaded the video to his X account on Friday with the caption “Ole Miss attending to business.” 

Collins, according to a Collins spokesperson, was citing instances of “regular, everyday students… resisting the very small group of leftist agitators whose sole objective is to disrupt and destroy.” 

However, the taunting elicited severe disapproval both inside and outside of campus. 

“Students demanded an end to the genocide.” James M. Thomas, a sociology professor at the University of Mississippi, wrote on X that they encountered prejudice.

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