canada africa partner reservation Dozens arrested at Penn, MIT in latest crackdown on Gaza protests

Dozens arrested at Penn, MIT in latest crackdown on Gaza protests

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Police dismantled encampments and arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania on Friday morning, in the latest crackdown on protests raging on US campuses. Philadelphia officers in riot gear pushed reporters away from the encampment at the University of Pennsylvania before tearing down tents and throwing protesters’ belongings into a garbage truck, the student newspaper reported. About 33 people were arrested, Penn’s public safety department said.

A similar scene unfolded simultaneously at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Boston, where student journalists reported that riot police arrested at least 10 student protesters before razing the camp and throwing away their belongings. The dawn raids were the latest attempts by schools and local authorities to end such demonstrations at dozens of universities across the country. Students have called for a ceasefire over the Israeli invasion of Gaza and demanded that their schools be divested from companies linked to Israel.

Many university leaders have called the camps security risks and sought to end them before May commencement ceremonies, which draw large crowds of outside visitors to the campuses. MIT President Sally Kornbluth said in a statement Friday that the 10 people arrested Friday reported themselves to police “peacefully,” but that the arrests followed escalating clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protesters.

“It was not moving in a direction that anyone could call peaceful,” she said, adding that “the costs and disruption to the community at large made the situation increasingly untenable.” Penn Interim President J. Larry Jameson said in a statement Monday that “every day the encampment exists, the campus is less safe,” citing reports of intimidating and threatening statements, the defacement of campus monuments and a video of a student being denied entry to the camp.

Since the first mass arrests at Columbia University in New York on April 18, at least 2,600 demonstrators have been arrested at more than 100 protests in 39 states and Washington, DC, according to The Appeal, a nonprofit news organization. Some police experts say such large-scale arrests could be counterproductive, fueling rather than deterring protests. Similar protests have also sprung up on campuses in other countries. In Western Canada, local police cleared protesters from an encampment at the University of Calgary on Thursday using “non-lethal ammunition,” according to a statement from the city, which said the number of arrests would be made public on Friday.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)