Friday, May 24, 2024

Hundreds of US students arrested amid Gaza solidarity protests

HomeU.S.Hundreds of US students arrested amid Gaza solidarity protests

The tendrils of war stretched from the bombs bursting over Gaza to the grassy quads of American universities this weekend. Hundreds of students were arrested, buildings vandalized, and chaos unleashed as an incendiary protest movement over the bloodshed convulsed colleges nationwide.

The upheaval, ignited by a police raid to clear a tent city at Columbia University last month, has metastasized like a brushfire into a coast-to-coast conflagration of activism. Demonstrators are demanding their institutions sever all ties to companies and individuals linked to Israel over its military offensive in Gaza that has killed over 34,000 Palestinian civilians, according to the Hamas government there.

On Saturday, over 100 pro-Palestinian protesters were hauled off in plastic handcuffs at Northeastern University after brazenly defying orders to dismantle their camp on the Boston campus. The school claimed “professional agitators” had infiltrated the protests and accused some of spewing antisemitic vitriol, an incendiary charge the organizers furiously denied.

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In the Midwest, Green Party candidate Jill Stein found herself ensnared in the mayhem, one of around 80 arrested at Washington University in St. Louis. Her campaign said she was not facing charges as of Sunday.

Chaos reigned at the University of Southern California, where protesters returned days after police had cleared an earlier encampment. The university said the new occupation led to property destruction, with a treasured campus statue and fountain vandalized. USC banned outsiders to quell the unrest.

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The scenes played out like a nightmarish carnival — mass arrests, barricades erected, chants echoing through ivy-covered arches. At Indiana University, 23 protesters were cuffed by police in body armor. In California, Cal Poly announced a move to remote classes amid the tumult.

The conflagration was sparked last fall when the militant group Hamas launched a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel, killing over 1,200 civilians and taking 253 hostages, Israeli authorities say. Israel’s retaliatory pounding of Gaza has since claimed over 34,000 Palestinian lives, most civilians, according to Hamas’ health ministry.

While some campuses like Columbia and Emory saw protests simmer down this weekend, others like USC and Northeastern became new fronts in the student-led battle over Gaza’s rivers of blood.

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For Jewish student groups, the furious demonstrations have fueled concerns about a climate of antisemitism taking root. But the pro-Palestinian activists remained undeterred, their cries for boycotts echoing through corridors of academia unsettlingly cut off from the horrors convulsing the Mediterranean coastal strip.

On quads stretching from Boston to Los Angeles, the tree-lined campuses have become unlikely battlefields for a global conflict strangling the civilian population of an entire society thousands of miles away. As university chiefs struggle to douse the flames, the distressing images of tent cities, mass arrests, and rage suggest the protests will only intensify deeper into spring.



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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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