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Clashes and arrests on American campuses

Photo: Étienne Laurent Agence France-Presse A pro-Palestinian protester is beaten by counter-protesters on the UCLA campus.

Romain Fonsegrives – Agence France-Presse and Ana Fernandez – Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles and New York respectively

Posted at 6:34 a.m. Updated at 5:34 p.m.

  • United States

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.

About 300 people were arrested in New York at two university sites, city 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, from where the student mobilization in support of Gaza started. The tents set up on the lawn of the site were removed.

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

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

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“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 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the southwest and north of the country respectively, according to local media.

“Where were the authorities ? »

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.

< p>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 in the night when a large group of counter-protesters, many masked, attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment set up on a lawn, according to an AFP photographer .

Clashes and arrests on American campuses

Photo: Frederic J. Brown Agence France-Presse

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

Wednesday morning, calm had returned, but dozens of police cars were always present. All classes have been canceled for the day, according to the institution.

“The university must deter counter-protesters from attacking those who are peaceful,” said Daniel Harris, a 23-year-old student, told AFP, adding that the attackers “did not look like students or people with any connection to the university”.

“Where were the authorities ?,” said Mark Torre, a 22-year-old student not involved in the clashes.

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

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

“These incidents provoked, particularly among our Jewish students , deep anxiety and fear,” he added.

Clashes and arrests on American campuses

Photo: Etienne Laurent Agence France-Presse

Biden “should speak out”

Unlike other institutions, Brown University in the state of Rhode Island announced 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 a possible “divestment” from “companies that 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.

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

The White House on Wednesday condemned a “small percentage of students causing disorder.”

“Students have the right to go to class and feel safe,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, spokesperson for the executive, adding: “We will continue to emphasize that it is necessary to denounce anti-Semitism. »

During a meeting in Wisconsin, former President Donald Trump considered that “New York was under siege last night”, adding that the police officers deployed to Columbia had been “incredible”.

President Joe Biden “should speak out,” he said indignantly.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116