Pro-Palestinian encampments spring up in more US colleges

Hundreds of students and others arrested at Columbia, Yale, New York University and other schools.

NEW YORK (Reuters): Pro-Palestinian students have set up tent encampments at more campuses across the U.S. to protest Israel’s incursion into Gaza, after mass arrests at similar demonstrations at a handful of mostly East Coast colleges in recent days.

The expanding protests include plans by a coalition of Jewish groups opposing Israel’s actions to close the Brooklyn street where U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer resides. That protest, on the second night of the week-long Jewish feast of Passover, is one of a dozen the coalition organized in cities around the country.

Since Friday, hundreds of students and others were arrested at Columbia, Yale, New York University and other schools.

Critics of the protests, including prominent Republican members of the U.S. Congress, have stepped up accusations of antisemitism and harassment by at least some protesters. Civil rights advocates, including the ACLU, have raised free speech concerns over the arrests.

Among the new encampments, students at the University of California, Berkeley – a school well known for its student activism during the 1960s – set up tents in solidarity with protesters at other schools.

Also in California, the campus of Cal Poly Humboldt, a public university in Arcata, was shut down after pro-Palestinian protesters occupied a campus building.

At the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul, police cleared an encampment after the school asked them to take action, citing violations of university policy and trespassing law.

The new protests follow the arrest of more than 120 protesters on New York University’s campus late on Monday, a New York Police Department spokesperson said. Police said university authorities reached out for help, and protesters failed to clear by the deadline given by the university.

More than 100 students were arrested at Columbia last week, and the New York university canceled in-person classes on Monday in a bid to defuse tensions on campus and out of concern that Jewish students faced possible harassment.

On Tuesday, the school said classes for the rest of the year were hybrid – with students able to attend either online or in person.

Columbia administrators, along with state officials, some members of Congress, and the White House, have alleged that Jewish students have been subjected to antisemitism and harassment by some protesters.

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