Pro-Palestine protests & occupations erupting across the USA

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The Minnesota 9 students are now banned from campus for a full year as well as charged with misdemeanours for ‘trespassing’ on their own campus

PRO-PALESTINE protests and occupations are sweeping universities across America, with students and lecturers demanding an end to US arms to Israel.

The demonstrations, which started a week ago at Columbia University with a sizable crowd of protesters setting up a ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’ on campus, have expanded to various other universities such as Yale, MIT, and more.

Harvard University suspended its Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee on Monday following a period of administrative repression, harassment, and intimidation by conservative politicians and donors.

The committee was ordered to halt all organisational activities for the remainder of the term, or face permanent expulsion, following an unregistered demonstration they held last week.

Mimi Elias, a social work student who was arrested, said: ‘We are going to stay until they talk to us and listen to our demands.

‘We don’t want Antisemitism or Islamophobia. We are here for the liberation of all,’ Elias said.

Over 100 demonstrators being detained at the Columbia University, following the intervention of law enforcement by university officials on the private grounds last Thursday, a decision that appeared to heighten tensions and lead to a larger gathering during the weekend.

According to Joseph Howley, a classics associate professor at Columbia University, the involvement of the police was an erroneous approach, as it inadvertently drew in ‘more radical elements’ that were not originally associated with student protests.

‘You can’t discipline and punish your way out of prejudice and community disagreement,’ Howley said.

Students at over a dozen universities in the US are following Columbia University’s lead, despite police excesses, to call for divestment from Israel amid its genocidal war on Gaza.

Mohammad Khalil, an activist from Columbia University, urged his school to stop funding war-related industries.

‘The university should do something about the genocide that’s happening in Gaza. They should stop investing in this genocide that our people are now suffering from,’ said Khalil.

At the New York University, police detained protesters who had set up their own encampment after the school called the students’ behaviour ‘disorderly, disruptive, and antagonising’.

Helga Tawil-Souri, a professor at the New York University, stated that school officials provided contradictory explanations for the enforcement against pro-Palestine protesters.

‘When they brought in the police – hundreds of policemen in riot gear – they charged us with trespassing, though we are NYU faculty and students. I don’t know how we trespass on our own campus, but that was the charge against us,’ she said.

‘I’ve been a professor at NYU for 20 years. I’ve never seen a crackdown of this nature and such an over-the-top response by campus security and then on the part of the NYPD.

‘It is reflective of attempts across the country to crack down on what is being called pro-Palestine speech.’

The activist group Within our Lifetime said police then ‘arrested all faculty who were protecting students at the encampment’.

Protests also took place at MIT, the University of Michigan, and Yale, resulting in the arrest of at least 47 individuals for their refusal to disperse.

Destruction of Gaza’s universities: How Israel is trying to crush Palestinian consciousness.

‘I spent two years studying at the Faculty of Medicine at the Islamic University of Gaza, and I was very diligent. I spent all my time with books and keeping up with everything new in my field. My goal was to complete my courses and reach the field training in the hospital, specialising in pediatrics,’ with these words, student Aya Abu Al-Ata began her speech after the university life came to a halt for the past seven months due to the Israeli genocidal war in Gaza Strip.

She continued, in an interview with the Palestinian Information Centre: ‘The Israeli war on Gaza destroyed everything we built for our future.

‘There are no universities, no schools, and no institutions left. They destroyed everything in Gaza. In short, they destroyed our entire lives.’

She struck her fist against her palm, expressing her confusion and helplessness, with tears streaming down her face out of concern and fear for her lost future.

She affirmed that Israel, in its genocidal war, seeks to crush Palestinian consciousness under the tracks of tanks and the missiles of planes, but she believes they will not succeed.

All Palestinian universities in the Gaza Strip, 12 universities, have suffered complete destruction or significant damage as a result of Israeli airstrikes, artillery shelling, or even detonation.

According to the Euro-Med monitor for Human Rights based in Geneva, the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have led to the destruction of the infrastructure of higher education.

The Euro-Med monitor estimates that the damage incurred by the universities amounts to more than 200 million euros.

At least three university presidents, more than 95 deans and professors have been killed since October 7th of last year.

Approximately 88,000 students have been forced to suspend their studies, and 555 other students who hold international scholarships have been unable to travel abroad.

The Euro-Med monitor stated that the Israeli army carried out deliberate and targeted attacks against academic, scientific, and intellectual figures in the Gaza Strip.

Dozens of them were killed in direct airstrikes that targeted their homes without prior warning, crushing them under the rubble with their families or other displaced families who sought refuge with them.

The Euro-Med monitor’s documented list includes 17 professors, 59 PhD holders, and 18 master’s degree holders, noting that the tally is not final.

There are estimates of other academics being targeted, as they are distributed across various scientific fields, representing the ‘pillars of academic work in Gaza’s universities.’

According to the human rights observatory, preliminary estimates also indicate the deaths of hundreds of university students as a result of the ongoing Israeli attacks.

A nationwide protest against Islamophobia on Sunday was initially banned by the French government, but thousands turned out in Paris despite the risk of facing judicial intimidation.

Dozens of organisations marched in Paris against Islamophobia and racism, as Israel’s genocide and ethnic cleansing have increased state-sponsored repression against Europe’s largest Muslim community.

A major theme of the march was protecting children. Since October 7th, 2003, children as young as 10 years old had been charged with so-called ‘apology for terrorism’, while a child of eight was falsely targeted for praying during playtime.

Such scandals have many saying that non-white children are no longer being treated like children but as suspected fanatics, delinquents and full-grown adults.

The sudden revocation of the permit for a pro-Palestine protest march gave the French police legal justification to use a tool of political repression not seen since the yellow vests, massive fines.

A decade ago, during another Israeli invasion of Gaza, France became the first country to ever ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

They banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations for a whole month after October 7th last year, handing out hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines and making mass arrests.

France’s minister of justice has stated that any form of public support for resistance against the Israeli regime is a criminal offence.

Police initially banned Sunday’s march, claiming it was a threat to public order and possibly anti-Semitic, however, it was overturned at the last moment.