The University of Chicago cleared a pro-Palestinian demonstration

BBC.com

CHICAGO (AP) — Police cleared a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at the University of Chicago on Tuesday as tension ratcheted up in standoffs with demonstrators at other college campuses across the U.S. — and increasingly, in Europe.
At the University of Chicago, hundreds of protesters had gathered in an area known as the Quad for at least eight days.
Police in riot gear blocked access to the Quad early Tuesday as law enforcement dismantled the encampment.
At MIT, protesters were given a Monday afternoon deadline to voluntarily leave or face suspension.
Many left, according to an MIT spokesperson, who said protesters breached fencing after the arrival of demonstrators from outside the university.
Demonstrations at New York City’s Columbia University, where the protest movement began about three weeks ago, have roiled its campus.
More than 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had camped out on Columbia’s green or occupied an academic building were arrested in recent weeks.
At the University of California, San Diego, police cleared an encampment and arrested more than 64 people, including 40 students.

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CHICAGO (AP) — As tensions increased in standoffs with protestors at other college campuses across the country on Tuesday, police broke up a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at the University of Chicago. S. — and more and more so in Europe.

Nearly three weeks into a movement launched by a protest at Columbia University, the Rhode Island School of Design held talks with protesters occupying a building, and MIT dealt with a new encampment on a site that was cleared but immediately retaken by demonstrators.

The confrontations come as campuses try a range of strategies, from appeasement to threats of disciplinary action, to resolve the protests against the Israel-Hamas war and clear the way for commencements.

At the University of Chicago, hundreds of protesters had gathered in an area known as the Quad for at least eight days. Administrators on campus gave them a warning on Friday to vacate the area or risk being arrested.

Early on Tuesday, while law enforcement broke up the encampment, police in riot gear blocked access to the Quad. Later, as the demonstrators continued to chant, “Up, up with liberation,” officers picked up a barricade that had been put up to keep them out of the Quad. As the officers moved to retake control, demonstrators and police exchanged blows along the barricade. “Down, down with occupation!”.

“In a message to the university community, school president Paul Alivisatos stated that the protesters were given a chance to dismantle their structures and leave the encampment, and no arrests have occurred.”. “Disciplinary action shall be taken where appropriate. “.

At seven thirty in the morning. m. Over 200 protestors were present on Tuesday, a doubling of the previous count. Thirty minutes or so later, demonstrators reassembled in front of campus administration building Levi Hall in the Quad, and campus police lifted a barricade and moved aside to let them in.

On Monday afternoon, demonstrators at MIT were given a deadline to depart voluntarily or risk being suspended. Many left, according to an MIT spokesperson, who said protesters breached fencing after the arrival of demonstrators from outside the university. On Monday night, dozens of protesters remained at the encampment in a calmer atmosphere, listening to speakers and chanting before taking a pizza break.

Sam Ihns, a graduate student at MIT studying mechanical engineering and a member of MIT Jews for a Ceasefire, said the group has been at the encampment for two weeks and is calling for an end to the killing in Gaza.

He clarified, “We are protesting MIT’s direct research ties to the Israeli Ministry of Defense specifically with our camp.”.

The MIT spokesperson stated that as of Monday night, no arrests had been made.

At the Rhode Island School of Design, where students started occupying a building Monday, a spokesperson said the school affirms students’ rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly and it supports all members of its community. The RISD president and provost were meeting with the demonstrators, the spokesperson said.

The student protests have spread to Europe, where they are gaining momentum. German police broke up an occupation at Berlin’s Free University, and about 125 activists were arrested by police on Tuesday as they broke up a camp at the University of Amsterdam. In Finland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, and Britain, students have also staged protests or established encampments.

There is a growing movement of protestors who demand that schools remove themselves from businesses that support the war effort or deal with Israel. Others simply want to call attention to the deaths in Gaza and for the war to end.

The protest movement started roughly three weeks ago at Columbia University in New York City, and since then, there have been riots on campus. Officials on Monday canceled its large main ceremony but said students will be able to celebrate at a series of smaller, school-based ceremonies this week and next.

Columbia canceled its in-person classes already. Over two hundred pro-Palestinian protestors who had taken over an academic building or set up camp on Columbia’s green were taken into custody in the past few weeks.

As more and more similar encampments appeared, colleges found it difficult to decide how to balance preserving inclusive and safe environments on campus with granting freedom of speech.

The main commencement ceremony at the University of Southern California was canceled earlier. Students abandoned their camp at USC on Sunday after being surrounded by police and threatened with arrest. Increased security has been used for graduation ceremonies at other universities. The University of Michigan’s ceremony was interrupted by chanting a few times Saturday.

At UNC Chapel Hill, a group of academics and staff members petitioned the administration for student demonstrators who had just been detained and suspended to be granted temporary release.

Student leaders in Harvard Yard were forewarned by interim president Alan Garber that those who set up camp there might be placed on “involuntary leave,” which would prevent them from accessing the university, their housing rights, and their ability to take exams.

More than 64 people, including 40 students, were taken into custody after police at the University of California, San Diego broke up an encampment. The University of California, Los Angeles, moved classes online for the week because of disruptions after the dismantling of an encampment last week that resulted in 44 reported arrests.

According to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled region, Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which it declared would destroy Hamas, has killed over 34,500 Palestinians, roughly two-thirds of them women and children.

. Israeli strikes have devastated the enclave and displaced most of its inhabitants.

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