Pro-Palestinian protests erupt on college campuses following Columbia arrests

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Pro-Palestinian protests erupt on college campuses
This includes one protest right here in the Triangle at UNC-Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Protests over Israel's war in Gaza are spreading at college campuses across the country.

This includes one right here in the Triangle.

Last week, students rallied on UNC's campus. They gathered on the quad outside the South Building, where the Chancellor's office is located.

UNC-Chapel Hill's Students for Justice in Palestine (UNC SJP) -- who organized the rally -- said it was a response to the rally at Columbia University where more than 100 people were arrested last week.

WATCH | UNC students hold pro-Palestine rally in response to arrests at Columbia University

Students at the University of North Carolina held a rally on campus Friday.

Tensions remained high the following Monday at Columbia, where the campus gates were locked to anyone without a school ID and where protests broke out both on campus and outside.

On the same day, dozens of students at New York University were arrested during pro-Palestinian protests.

An encampment set up by students swelled to hundreds of protesters throughout the day Monday. NYU said it warned the crowd to leave, then called in the police after the scene became disorderly.

The university said it learned of reports of "intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents." Shortly after 8:30 p.m., officers began making arrests.

WATCH | Over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators arrested at Columbia University in New York

Some 108 people were arrested on Columbia University's campus for trespass without incident, officials said.

"It's a really outrageous crackdown by the university to allow the police to arrest students on our own campus," NYU law student Byul Yoon said.

"Antisemitism is never ok. That's absolutely not what we stand for and that's why there are so many Jewish comrades that are here with us today," Yoon said.

These protests are happening at Ivy Leagues across the country. Groups are demanding universities to divest from companies tied to Israel.

Some Jewish students, meanwhile, say much of the criticism of Israel has veered into antisemitism and made them feel unsafe, and they point out that Hamas is still holding hostages taken during the group's Oct. 7 invasion.

President Biden, in response to these protests, said:

"I condemn the antisemitic protests. I also condemn those who don't understand what's going on with the Palestinians."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.