Over 1,700 anti-genocide protesters arrested on US campuses in last two weeks

May 3, 2024

According to a report by The Appeal, over 1,700 people, overwhelmingly students and faculty, have been arrested on US campuses in the last two weeks for protesting the ongoing genocide in Gaza, which is entering its seventh month. The US-backed Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign has killed over 44,000 Palestinians, another 80,000 are injured or missing, and more than 1 million have been displaced.

Despite months of peaceful protests and marches, the US government continues to militarily, politically and financially back the slaughter in Gaza. Last month, majorities in both the Democratic and Republican parties voted in favor of a $95 billion military supplemental package that includes over $16 billion for the Zionist regime to continue its military campaign.

Outraged over this unstinting support for slaughter, students at universities across the country—with the support of faculty and community members—have adopted the protest tactics of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and established encampments at their colleges. The central demand of the students is that universities divest from companies linked to the Israeli government. Since the establishment of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia University in New York City on April 17, students in the US and internationally have constructed encampments at over 120 universities.

In the US, encampments have been established at at least 70 colleges across 34 states including, but not limited to: Arizona State University (Tempe), University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), University of Texas (Dallas and Austin), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis-Saint Paul), Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Ohio State (Columbus), Florida State (Tallahassee), Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), Yale (New Haven, Connecticut), and the University of New Hampshire (Dartmouth).

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Dozens of protests in support of the encampments have also been held at colleges including recently at the Al-Harain University in Baghdad, Iraq.

Despite the broad and overwhelming peaceful character of the protests, which in many cases are led by and include a large contingent of Jewish students, anti-war protesters have been slandered by Democratic and Republican politicians, beginning with President Joe Biden, as “violent” “antisemitic” and “outside agitators.”

Directed and encouraged by capitalist politicians, whose lies are reinforced by the mainstream press, police in the United States have reacted violently to the protests. Students and faculty have been zip-tied, pepper sprayed, shot at with “less lethal” rounds, and bludgeoned by police and their Zionist and fascist allies, for peacefully requesting their universities, and the Biden administration, not to support, engage in, or profit from, mass murder.

These peaceful requests have been ignored by Democrats and Republicans. The bulk of the arrests tabulated so far have taken place in New York City, where Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD cop, has taken the lead in vilifying protesters. The Appeal found that over 520 people have been arrested in Manhattan alone.

The Appeal report was issued on May 1, so it does not take into account recent mass arrests at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). After allowing Zionists and fascists to rampage against pro-Palestinian protesters Wednesday night, the police have confirmed they have arrested at least 132 people in the early hours of Thursday morning. In the last 24 hours, double-digit arrests have also taken place at the University of Wisconsin Madison (34), Fordham University in Manhattan (15), Tulane University in New Orleans (14) and many other colleges.

Students have been arrested in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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There is no question that if the same scale of mass arrests and police abuse witnessed over the last two weeks in the US was occurring in other countries, such as Russia, China or Iran, the US government would denounce them as “grave” human rights violations.

Far from denouncing police and Zionist attacks on students, from the White House Thursday morning, Biden slandered the anti-genocide protesters as “violent.” Asked by a reporter if the protests on campuses had caused him to reconsider US policy in the region, the president quickly replied, “No.”

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