Pro-Palestinian encampment on UW campus continues to grow

Apr 29, 2024, 2:38 PM | Updated: 5:43 pm

A pro-Palestinian tent encampment is growing on the University of Washington (UW) campus.

The encampment is sponsored by the UW Progressive Student Union and mirrors protests on college campuses across the country.

Earlier this month, police arrested student protesters at the University of Southern California, hours after police at a Texas university aggressively detained dozens in the latest clashes between law enforcement and those protesting the Israel-Hamas war on campuses nationwide.

At New York University, police said 133 protesters were taken into custody, while over 40 protesters were arrested at an encampment at Yale University, reported The Associated Press (AP).

More protests: Western Washington students walk out against Israel-Hamas war

Columbia University averted another confrontation between students and police. University President Minouche Shafik had set on Tuesday a midnight deadline to reach an agreement on clearing an encampment, but the school extended negotiations, saying it would continue talks with protesters for another 48 hours.

Columbia graduate student Omer Lubaton Granot, who put up pictures of Israeli hostages near the encampment, told The AP he wanted to remind people that there were more than 100 hostages still being held by Hamas.

“I see all the people behind me advocating for human rights,” he said. “I don’t think they have one word to say about the fact that people their age, that were kidnapped from their homes or from a music festival in Israel, are held by a terror organization.”

Harvard law student Tala Alfoqaha, who is Palestinian, told The AP she and other protesters want more transparency from the university.

“My hope is that the Harvard administration listens to what its students have been asking for all year, which is divestment, disclosure and dropping any sort of charges against students,” she said.

The UW encampment is in the Quad, just off Red Square, and is comprised of a handful of students and half a dozen tents.

The group has also set up a food pantry and organizers said they are ready to camp until their three demands are met.

Related news: 46 arrested after pro-Palestinian protest shut down SEA Airport road for hours

“We want the University of Washington to materially divest from Israel, cut ties with Boeing, and for the university to end the repression of pro-Palestinian staff, students and faculty,” Matthieu Chabaud said.

The University posted no-camping signs but they were defaced from saying “NO camping allowed” to “ALL camping aloud.”

Students at other colleges and universities were threatened with arrest, school probation, suspension and expulsion.

UW students said they are not afraid of consequences.

“It’s wrong on every level. The reason students are protesting is because they can recognize their university administrations are investing and connecting themselves with genocide. When we see universities suspending and evicting students, that is not the fault of students for protesting, that’s the fault of the university administration,” protestor Matthieu Chabaud said.

A UW spokesperson said they are continuing to monitor the situation.

Contributing: Nick Perry, Jim Vertuno and Acacia Coronado, The Associated Press.

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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Pro-Palestinian encampment on UW campus continues to grow