What is Happening at US Universities – Latest from the Student Uprising for Gaza

Thousands of American students have taken part in the anti-war protests, and in solidarity with Gaza. (Photo: @ColumbiaSJP Tw page)

Who are the protests? What are their demands? And how the unprecedented student uprising is being handled by US police and government?

Student protests over the Gaza war have spread across the United States over the past a few weeks, with police demolishing a number of sit-in camps.

At times, this followed confrontations between protesters and organized groups from outside campuses, or as a result of direct assaults by US police.

In some cases, however, solidarity tents have been cleared after universities agreed to protesters’ demands.

However, protests continue on many campuses across the country.

What are the demands of the pro-Gaza protesters?

Students at universities where protests erupted have issued calls for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, an end to US military aid to Israel, divestment from universities from arms suppliers and other companies profiting from the war, and amnesty for students and faculty who have been ‘disciplined or expelled for protesting.

The students are demonstrating against Israel’s war on Gaza, which began on October 7. This is not the first Israeli war on the Strip, but the most violent as it followed a Palestinian Resistance operation targeting the Israeli military and settlements in the so-called Gaza Envelope region.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that the Israeli aggression has so far led to the death of more than 34,000 people, and the injury of more than 77,000 others, while over 11,000 are still missing, presumably killed.

Meanwhile, Israel claims that the Resistance has killed around 1,200 Israelis, including many soldiers and other military personnel.

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Who are the pro-Palestinian protesters?

Pro-Palestinian protests attract students and faculty from different backgrounds. Organizers of the protests include Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.

The camps also feature prayers and musical performances, as well as a variety of teaching programs.

Organizers deny responsibility for the violence against pro-Israel protesters, but some Jewish students claimed to have felt ‘unsafe’ on campus and worried about chants they described as anti-Semitic.

The chants include “free Palestine” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

University administrators and some local leaders allege that activists from outside the campus have participated in or organized some of the protests. For example, the University of Texas at Austin said 45 of the 79 detainees on its campus on April 29 had no connection to the university.

Who are the counter protesters?

Israeli-American and Zionist groups, as well as students and members of the American Jewish community, are leading anti-protests at universities.

Hundreds attended a counter march at the University of California-Los Angeles organized by the pro-Israel American Council group. An active Jewish student at the university posted a video claiming to be of pro-Palestinian protesters preventing him from entering an area on campus.

A brawl broke out at the University of California-Berkeley in early May between the co-founder of the Zionist group Students Supporting Israel and a

Hundreds of students at the University of Mississippi were also seen chanting against pro-Palestinian protesters on the second of this month, some waving American flags and banners supporting former President Donald Trump.

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What is the response of the US authorities so far?

Some university administrators have called on law enforcement authorities to arrest protesters, remove camps, and break up sit-ins, while others have allowed camps to continue or reached agreements to end the protests.

On April 18, Columbia University called in the police only one day after students set up camp on campus in Manhattan.

On April 30, police again raided the camp and a building occupied by students and made hundreds of arrests.

University President Nemat Shafik, who labeled the protesters anti-Semitic, said the camp was an unauthorized protest that made the campus ‘unbearable’ for many Jewish students.

The University of California-Berkeley allowed a pro-Palestinian camp as long as it does not disrupt the functioning of the campus and does not pose a threat of violence.

Northwestern, Brown and Rutgers are among the universities that have reached agreements to remove tents.

Brown University will hold a vote on a possible divestment from companies linked to Israel.

Rutgers University reportedly agreed to establish an Arab cultural center and consider a department of Middle Eastern studies.

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What has been the response from US presidential candidates?

Democratic President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday that Americans have the right to demonstrate, but they have no right to unleash violence, though no evidence of organized violence by protesters have been presented.

Biden has faced criticism from protesters for providing Israel with money and weapons that allowed it to carry on with its genocidal war on Gaza.

Trump, the Republican nominee for the 2024 election, called the college protests a sign of tremendous hatred. On April 30, Trump described the Columbia University police attack on protesters as a pleasing sight.


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1 Comment

  1. What did the LAPD do to protect the anti-Israel student protesters (which also includes many Jewish-American anti-Zionists), who were savagely attacked inside their encampment, on the UCLA campus, by a gang of Jewish Zionist terrorists? Absolutely nothing! But yet, a whole lot of savage brutality is being committed by the U.S. police against peaceful anti-Israel protesters all over America’s college campuses. Just the same way that the genocidal Zionist entity fully controls the U.S. government, U.S. mainstream news media, American schools, and the Hollywood movie industry, it also fully controls the U.S. police.

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