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Clashes Erupt at USC as Pro-Palestinian Rally Leads to Arrests

Palestine

House Speaker Calls for Columbia University President’s Resignation Amid Broader US Campus Protests

  • Pro-Palestinian demonstrations at US universities are intensifying.
  • At USC, 93 people were arrested for trespassing after refusing to disperse from a designated area.
  • LAPD intervened at the request of USC after tensions escalated.
  • House Speaker called for Columbia University president’s resignation over ongoing protests.
  • Columbia student protests demand university cut ties with Israel.
  • Over 30 arrests were also reported at protests at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • These incidents highlight growing tensions on US campuses regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Protests on American campuses in solidarity with Palestinians have intensified, with a significant number of arrests reported at the University of Southern California (USC) and calls for resignation at Columbia University. These developments highlight the growing tensions surrounding the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and its impact on US institutions.

At USC, demonstrations reached a boiling point on Wednesday, leading to the arrest of 93 people on trespassing charges. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) intervened after the USC Department of Public Safety ordered protestors to disperse from Alumni Park. According to university officials, tensions escalated when protestors refused to leave the designated area and remove tents or other prohibited items.

USC
Pro-Palestinian protests spark tension in the US / Creative Commons

“The university is a private campus and the group had been violating some of their orders,” explained LAPD Captain Kelly Muniz during a press briefing. “It was a trespass at that point and we assisted with the arrests.” One additional arrest was made for assault with a deadly weapon, according to Muniz. Thankfully, no injuries were reported among protestors or officers.

The USC campus closure on Wednesday evening coincided with the LAPD’s intervention, effectively ending the demonstrations. These events come amidst a broader wave of protests on US campuses in response to the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. Columbia University has emerged as another focal point, with protests demanding the university sever ties with Israeli academic institutions and divest from entities linked to Israel.

House Speaker Mike Johnson upped the ante on Thursday, calling for the resignation of Columbia University’s president. Johnson emphasized the need to restore order on campus, suggesting that the president’s inability to do so warrants her stepping down. Student reactions to this call for resignation have been mixed, with some expressing a willingness to continue working with the university’s leadership to address their concerns.

Also read: US universities witness protest over war in Gaza

The situation at the University of Texas at Austin paints a similar picture. There, over 30 arrests were reported during pro-Palestinian demonstrations. These incidents underscore the growing divide on American campuses regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students passionate about the issue are increasingly resorting to protests to voice their concerns, sparking tension with university administrations and law enforcement.

Moving forward, it remains to be seen how universities will navigate these sensitive situations. Balancing the right to free speech and assembly with the safety and security of the campus community will be a critical challenge. Open communication and a commitment to understanding diverse perspectives will likely be essential in fostering a more peaceful environment on US campuses.

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