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185 Human Rights Groups Demand Universities End Crackdowns on Anti War Protest

Nationwide, university campuses have become hotbeds of tension as anti-war protests escalate in response to the Israel-Gaza war. In the last 10 days, around 900 students have been arrested at American universities during anti-war encampments and demonstrations, a period reminiscent of the volatile Vietnam War protests in 1968, which saw at least 700 students arrested.

The University of Texas at Austin witnessed 34 arrests by state troopers under Governor Greg Abbott's direction, after a student walkout urging the school to divest from businesses linked to Israel. Similarly, the University of Southern California experienced struggles between officers and protesters, with 93 arrests reported by Los Angeles police.

The movement gained momentum from Columbia University, where the arrest of over 100 students last week fueled further demonstrations, including tent encampments, across various universities. These protests have spread across Ivy League schools, major public universities, and colleges throughout California, with students calling for a peaceful ceasefire. 

Other universities that have held protests include UCLA, Harvard Law, Rutgers, and American University. Columbia's administration has threatened drastic measures, including potentially involving the National Guard, although the university denies these claims. 

Over 90 people, including 54 students, were arrested at a protest encampment at Virginia Tech's Graduate Life Center. The protest began on a Friday and continued throughout the weekend.

Emory University's President, Gregory L. Fenves apologized for inaccurately describing a group of over 20 anti-war activists as non-community members, but he reiterated his opposition to encampments on campus, following a protest where police were called.

A coalition of 185 social justice and religious groups has expressed support for campus protest encampments across the country that oppose Israel’s actions in Gaza. They have also called on university administrators to stop the harsh treatment of student-led demonstrations through a letter.

“We commend the students who are exercising their right to protest peacefully despite an overwhelming atmosphere of pressure, intimidation and retaliation, to raise awareness about Israel’s assault on Gaza — with U.S. weapons and funding,” the letter states. “These students have come forth with clear demands that their universities divest from corporations profiting from Israeli occupation, and demanding safe environments for Palestinians across their campuses. ”

It's imperative to uphold the rights of students to peacefully assemble and express dissenting opinions without fear of retribution or suppression. We will be following events and updating on upcoming information. For more information on protest rights in your area, please refer to the Know Your Rights Camp mobile app.

Link: Yahoo


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