Mobilization in support of Gaza | Clashes and arrests on American campuses

(Los Angeles) The police were deployed on several American campuses on Wednesday, after intervening during the night in Los Angeles and New York, scenes of student mobilization against the war in Gaza which is shaking the United States.

Around 300 people were arrested in New York at two university sites, the city’s police said at a press conference on Wednesday.

During the night, the police manu militari dislodged pro-Palestinian demonstrators barricaded in a building of the prestigious Columbia University in Manhattan, where the student mobilization in support of Gaza started. The tents installed on the lawn of the site have been removed.

“The police were brutal and aggressive with them,” Meghnad Bose, a Columbia student who witnessed the scene, told AFP.

“They arrested people at random (…) several students were injured to the point that they had to be hospitalized,” denounced a coalition of pro-Palestinian student groups from Columbia in an Instagram post.

“I regret that we have reached this point,” reacted Minouche Shafik, the president of the university, in a press release on Wednesday.

The demonstrators are fighting “for an important cause”, but the recent “acts of destruction” carried out by “students and external activists” led her to resort to the police, she explained, denouncing by elsewhere “anti-Semitic remarks” made during these gatherings.

A new camp was set up in the morning on the campus of the New York university of Fordham University, according to a university newspaper and images posted on social networks.

Others were dismantled early Wednesday on the campuses of the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively in the southwest and the north of the country, according to local media.


For two weeks, mobilizations in support of Gaza have multiplied across the United States, from California to major universities in the northeast, reminiscent of demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

Students call on establishments to cut ties with patrons or companies linked to Israel, and denounce Washington’s support for its Israeli ally.

On the campus of UCLA University in Los Angeles, clashes broke out overnight when a large group of counter-protesters, many masked, attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment set up on a lawn, according to an AFP photographer .

The attackers attempted to break through an improvised barricade around the encampment, made up of metal barriers and plywood panels. Demonstrators and counter-protesters then clashed with sticks and threw projectiles at each other.

On Wednesday morning, calm had returned, but dozens of police cars were still present. All classes have been canceled for the day, the establishment announced.

“Where were the authorities? “, Mark Torre, a 22-year-old student who was not involved in the clashes, told AFP.

University President Gene D. Block had warned before the violence against the presence of people from outside the campus.

On Sunday, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli activists, supported by numerous demonstrators from outside, came to blows, with shoving and insults.

“These incidents have caused, especially among our Jewish students, deep anxiety and fear,” he added.

Six months before the presidential election

Unlike other institutions, Brown University in the state of Rhode Island announced the day before that it had reached an agreement with the demonstrators. This provides for the dismantling of their encampment in exchange for a university vote in October on possible “divestments in “companies which enable and profit from the genocide in Gaza””.

According to an AFP count, the police have carried out arrests on at least 30 university sites since April 17.

Images of riot police intervening on campus have gone around the world and are causing strong reactions in the political world, six months before the presidential election in a polarized country.

Joe Biden “must do something” against these “paid agitators,” Republican candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday evening on Fox News. “We must put an end to the anti-Semitism that plagues our country today,” added the former president.

“Forcibly occupying a university building is the wrong approach” and does not represent “an example of peaceful demonstration,” thundered John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council.


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