Massive Arrests of US University Students Amid Growing Gaza Protest Uprisings

Law enforcement was present in full strength, utilizing chemical irritants and Tasers to disband the students, as more colleges joined the movement.
A poster was visible as individuals rallied at the University of Southern California (USC) in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza [Aude Guerrucci/Reuters].
Hundreds of students have faced arrest at various universities in the US as demonstrators persist in demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and the cessation of support for Israel’s prolonged conflict with the Palestinian territory.
Police were heavily deployed on university campuses on Saturday, resorting to chemical irritants and Tasers to disperse the protesting students, as more colleges witnessed rallies against the ongoing bombings in the Gaza Strip and called for an end to US military aid to Israel.
In Boston, authorities apprehended around 100 individuals while dismantling a protest camp at Northeastern University, where social media posts depicted law enforcement officers in riot gear and packing up tents onto a truck.
According to Northeastern, the campus area where the protests occurred has been fully secured, and all operations have returned to normal following the removal of demonstrators.
The university stated that individuals detained and possessing a valid school ID were discharged and will face internal disciplinary processes rather than legal repercussions.
Allegations of anti-Semitic chants at the protests were used as a basis for the crackdown, but pro-Palestinian activists at the university contested the claims, noting the presence of individuals brandishing Israeli flags and using the offensive language to provoke demonstrators.
Elsewhere, 23 people were detained by the Indiana University Police Department as they cleared a protest camp on campus in Bloomington, while the Arizona State University Police Department arrested 69 individuals for trespassing during an unauthorized encampment.
At Washington University in St. Louis, approximately 80 individuals, including US presidential candidate Jill Stein and her campaign manager, were taken into custody.
University administrators have struggled to curb the demonstrations, resulting in numerous arrests and clashes between police and demonstrators across the country.
Protesters are demanding amnesty for those disciplined or terminated over their participation in pro-Palestine protests, a situation that has escalated into a nationwide confrontation between students and university authorities over free speech rights.
In recent days, hundreds of students have faced disciplinary actions, suspensions, and expulsions from institutions such as Yale University, the University of Southern California, and others due to their involvement in protests.
Some universities had to cancel graduation ceremonies, while others have seen their buildings occupied by protesters, highlighting the risks assumed by students in pursuing their cause.
Al Jazeera correspondent John Hendren noted the high stakes for students joining campus protests and potentially risking expulsion for violating university regulations.
Student Sam Bisno stated that despite the risks involved, the passion of students towards the cause was evident, emphasizing the strength in numbers among protesters.
Momodou Taal, one of four students temporarily suspended by Cornell University, described instances of threats and doxing against protesters, underscoring the lack of protection afforded by the school.
Organizer Maysam Elghazali from Emory University outlined the protesters’ demands, including financial transparency, divestment from Israeli companies, and protection for unjustly arrested students.
Protests against the perceived genocide in Gaza have extended globally to countries like Canada, Europe, and Australia, with demands for universities to divest from entities linked to Israel and end ties with Zionist academic institutions.

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