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Police raids, mass arrests of anti-genocide protesters continue at campuses in NYC and beyond following Biden’s green light for repression

The WSWS is providing on-the-ground coverage of the developing protest movement against the genocide in Gaza and the state crackdown on democratic rights.

Police raids, mass arrests of anti-genocide protesters continue at campuses in NYC and beyond following Biden’s green light for repression

The impact of President Joe Biden’s White House endorsement of police violence to quash pro-Palestinian protests continued to spread on Friday, following the arrest Thursday of some 300 students at Columbia University and City College of New York, Dartmouth, the University of Wisconsin, Portland State, the University of Tennessee, and other campuses.

From right, pro-genocide supporters protected by police at the University of Chicago campus Friday, May 3, 2024, in Chicago. [AP Photo/Erin Hooley]

Massive police raids on those schools followed Biden’s three-minute speech Thursday afternoon in which he declared the peaceful protests to be “violent” and “antisemitic,” and said, “Order must prevail.”

Just hours before Biden spoke, Los Angeles police and California state troopers descended on the campus of UCLA and tore town an anti-Gaza genocide encampment, arresting 137 people. That followed unprovoked attacks on the sleeping protesters Wednesday night by Zionist fascists, which police did nothing to stop.

On Friday, the New York Police Department was back at work, at the bidding of school administrators and Democratic Mayor (and former cop) Eric Adams, demolishing protest encampments at The New School and New York University (NYU). Police arrested 43 people at The New School and 13 at NYU.

Meanwhile, the NYPD admitted that one of its riot police had “accidentally discharged” his weapon during the assault on students who had peacefully occupied Columbia’s Hamilton Hall. The police spokesman gave no reason for the three-day silence on the gun discharge.

However, in line with the escalating efforts of Democrats and Republicans alike to smear the protesters as “Hamas terrorists” and “outside agitators,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry, after conceding that protesters arrested Friday morning were students, said:

There is somebody behind this movement… There is somebody funding this. There is somebody radicalizing our students, and our deputy commissioner of counterterrorism and intelligence will find out who it is, and we’re going to be asking them some questions when we do.

Along these lines, Israelis targeted in the October 7, 2023 attack by Hamas filed a suit this week in a US court against American Muslims for Palestine, National Students for Justice in Palestine and “affiliated groups,” alleging that they are acting as agents of Hamas, a terrorist organization, according to the US government.

Also on Friday, police broke up a march by several hundred at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that had stopped traffic to demand an end to the genocide and the university’s divestment from Israel. The police made at least 30 arrests.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison demanded that students end an encampment before the start of finals next week, after rejecting their demand that the administration open its books. Protesters at UW-Madison have announced that faculty will walk out on Monday in support of the students’ demands.

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University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos threatened to end an encampment that students had set up on April 29. In a statement typical of the hypocrisy and arrogance emanating from official channels of all sorts, Alivisatos wrote:

On Monday, I stated that we would only intervene if what might have been an exercise of free expression blocks the learning or expression of others or substantially disrupts the functioning or safety of the University. Without an agreement to end the encampment, we have reached that point.

The University of Pennsylvania administration issued a warning Friday that a protest encampment in place since April 25 on the campus’ College Green would soon be shut down. This followed a counterprotest by Zionists on Thursday that delivered a petition with 3,000 signatures to the school authorities.

In a legal challenge to such blatant violations of free speech and political expression, the American Civil Liberties Union went to court Friday in Bloomington, Indiana on behalf of three people who were banned from the Indiana University campus after they protested in support of the Palestinians. The three—tenured professor Benjamin Robinson, grad student Madeleine Meldrum and Bloomington resident Jasper Wirtshafter—were demonstrating at Dunn Meadow, a 20-acre campus space designated for protests, when they were arrested and later banned.

This virtually unprecedented police state assault on opponents of the mass murder of Palestinians in Gaza, which is being carried out with the full support of Biden and both parties of American imperialism—as well as Washington’s NATO and imperialist allies around the world—has not, however, halted the courageous actions by students and workers. Princeton University students, calling themselves “Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest,” began a hunger strike on Friday against the Gaza war.

And student protest encampments have begun to spread world-wide, inspired by the stand taken by students at Columbia, UCLA and other US campuses. They have broken out in London, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo and Beirut. In Paris, French police have already moved in to remove protesters from the Institute of Political Studies.

Over 2,200 anti-genocide protesters arrested on US campuses in last two weeks

According to a report by The Appeal, over 2,200 people, overwhelmingly students and faculty, have been arrested on US campuses in the last two weeks for protesting the ongoing genocide in Gaza, which is entering its seventh month. The US-backed Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign has killed over 44,000 Palestinians, another 80,000 are injured or missing, and more than 1 million have been displaced.

Anti-genocide protesters are detained on the UCLA campus Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Los Angeles. [AP Photo/Jae C. Hong]

Despite months of peaceful protests and marches, the US government continues to militarily, politically and financially back the slaughter in Gaza. Last month, majorities in both the Democratic and Republican parties voted in favor of a $95 billion military supplemental package that includes over $16 billion for the Zionist regime to continue its military campaign.

Outraged over this unstinting support for slaughter, students at universities across the country—with the support of faculty and community members—have adopted the protest tactics of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and established encampments at their colleges. The central demand of the students is that universities divest from companies linked to the Israeli government. Since the establishment of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia University in New York City on April 17, students in the US and internationally have constructed encampments at over 120 universities.

In the US, encampments have been established at at least 70 colleges across 34 states including, but not limited to: Arizona State University (Tempe), University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), University of Texas (Dallas and Austin), University of Minnesota (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Ohio State (Columbus), Florida State (Tallahassee), Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), Yale (New Haven, Connecticut), Dartmouth (Hanover, New Hampshire), and the University of New Hampshire (Durham).

Dozens of protests in support of the encampments have also been held at colleges worldwide, including recently at the Al-Harain University in Baghdad, Iraq.

Despite the broad and overwhelming peaceful character of the protests, which in many cases are led by and include a large contingent of Jewish students, anti-war protesters have been slandered by Democratic and Republican politicians, beginning with President Joe Biden, as “violent,” “antisemitic” and “outside agitators.”

Directed and encouraged by capitalist politicians, whose lies are reinforced by the mainstream press, police in the United States have reacted violently to the protests. Students and faculty have been zip-tied, pepper sprayed, shot at with “less lethal” rounds, and bludgeoned by police and their Zionist and fascist allies, for peacefully requesting their universities, and the Biden administration, not to support, engage in, or profit from, mass murder.

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These peaceful requests have been ignored by Democrats and Republicans. The largest number of arrests tabulated so far have taken place in New York City, where Democratic Mayor Eric Adams, a former NYPD cop, has taken the lead in vilifying protesters. The Appeal found that over 520 people have been arrested in Manhattan alone.

The Appeal report was issued on May 1, so it does not take into account recent mass arrests at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). After allowing Zionists and fascists to rampage against pro-Palestinian protesters Wednesday night, the police have confirmed they have arrested at least 132 people in the early hours of Thursday morning. In the last 24 hours, double-digit arrests have also taken place at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (34), Fordham University in Manhattan (15), Tulane University in New Orleans (14) and many other colleges.

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Students have been arrested in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

There is no question that if the same scale of mass arrests and police abuse witnessed over the last two weeks in the US was occurring in other countries, such as Russia, China or Iran, the US government would denounce them as “grave” human rights violations.

Far from denouncing police and Zionist attacks on students, from the White House Thursday morning, Biden slandered the anti-genocide protesters as “violent.” Asked by a reporter if the protests on campuses had caused him to reconsider US policy in the region, the president quickly replied, “No.”

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As police raid Virginia campuses, House Republicans stage provocation at D.C. encampment

On Monday, April 29, police raided anti-Gaza genocide encampments in the Virginia Commonwealth, arresting nearly 100 protesters.

The vast majority of the arrests were made at the Blacksburg campus of Virginia Tech, in the southwest area of the state. According to local police, 80 arrests were made, with 53 of the detainees being identified as students. The university claimed the protest violated terms for the use of facilities.

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Later that night, a similar raid was directed against a peaceful encampment at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), located in the state capital of Richmond. Thirteen students were detained.

The arrests on Monday followed a raid at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in which nine people were arrested.

Authorities in Virginia have claimed that the protests violate public policies for facility usage. In reality, the police attacks are part of a coordinated government assault on students and anti-genocide activists across the country and internationally promoted on the basis of the lie that opposition to the US/Israeli genocide of Palestinians is “antisemitic.”

Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin said that the “disruptive and unauthorized encampments and individuals on Virginia’s public university campuses” were “out of compliance with college policies and would not disperse.”

An encampment at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, D.C. has managed to avoid similar police action, even as it has grown from several dozen tents to over 120, sprawling onto the street adjacent to the University Yard lawn.

According to the Washington Post, the D.C. Metro Police have rebuffed frequent campus requests to physically remove the encampment out of concern over “the optics of moving against a small number of peaceful protesters.”

House Republicans have increasingly demanded that the city carry out a violent breakup of the GWU encampment. On Tuesday, Republican Reps. Virginia Foxx (North Carolina), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and James Comer (Kentucky), chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, sent a letter to Democratic Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser saying they were “deeply disturbed” by the city’s failure to take action against the “virulent antisemitic chants, rhetoric, posters, and actions'' of the encampment. The representatives falsely stated that the “encampment incites violence, poses a direct threat to Jewish and Israeli students, and needs to be addressed urgently.”

This was followed by an in-person visit to the encampment by members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, who, one-by-one, made unhinged rants against the protesters.

The far-right hysteria over the protests is at complete odds with their actual character. Rather than being a threat to Jews, the protests are, in many cases, led by Jewish students, and, aside from police-backed assaults, completely peaceful.

For their part, Comer, Foxx, Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert and others who rail against the protesters are all on record in support of Donald Trump’s January 6, 2021 coup attempt at the US Capitol building. The fascist attack led to the death of several people and the wounding of many more.

In an effort to pressure the Democratic Party-run Washington, D.C. government into taking forceful action against the protesters, Comer and others have summoned city officials, including Bowser, to appear at a House Oversight Committee hearing.

“If the District of Columbia and [city police] refuse to exercise their authority to assist GWU in securing the safety of its students and faculty, Congress will be obliged to exercise its legislative powers to do so,” Comer threatened in a letter to the city’s mayor on April 30.

Bowser has sought to turn the table on her Republican accusers. She told a news conference:

The members have universities in their own districts, especially the member from North Carolina (Foxx), and I was watching a lot of activity in North Carolina. It would seem that her energy would be best placed there.

Democratic Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass oversaw massive police crackdown of anti-genocide protesters at UCLA

Less than a day after police looked on as peaceful pro-Palestinian, anti-genocide protesters at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) endured hours of sustained, violent attacks by fascist, pro-Israeli thugs, the same police returned to campus Wednesday night under the orders of Democratic Mayor Karen Bass, to the finish the job the right-wing mob started.

Beginning Wednesday night and through Thursday morning, cops from the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office violently swept the encampment. Students and other protesters tried to defend themselves with plywood, umbrellas, hard hats and pepper spray, while police liberally deployed flash bang grenades, batons, riot shields, high-decibel concussive grenades, tear gas and high-velocity impact munitions against the protesters.

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Photos and videos published on social media during, and after the assault, show protesters suffered many serious injuries, including deep head wounds. The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at UCLA reported Tuesday afternoon that “at least five people” were “shot in the head with rubber bullets” and that the cops deployed “flash bangs directly” into the crowd.

The police riot at UCLA was the culmination of days of high-level planning between Mayor Bass, the various police agencies, and the White House. For three days this week, leading up to the police riot, Bass was in Washington D.C., leading a delegation of mayors on the official pretext of addressing homelessness.

Los Angeles Daily News reported that while in Washington Bass met with several top congressional and White House officials including Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (New York) and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients and Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, a veteran of the Obama and Clinton administrations.

Following the Zionist assault on UCLA encampment early Wednesday morning, Bass revealed that she would be cutting her DC trip short, and, instead, would be returning to Los Angeles. She wrote on Twitter/X “This morning, I met in person with LAPD, LASD, CHP, CalOES, UCPD and other regional agencies at the UCLA incident command post about the absolutely detestable violence on campus last night.”

The post continued, “There must be a full investigation into what occurred on campus last night. Those involved in launching fireworks, spraying chemicals and physically assaulting others will be found, arrested, and prosecuted, as well as anyone involved in any form of violence or lawlessness.”

Despite the fact that the provocations listed by Bass were almost entirely the result of the Zionist thugs, abetted by police, it was the pro-Palestinian protesters instead who felt the full brunt of the subsequent state repression.

The following day, after the police sweep of UCLA, the Los Angeles mayor’s office released a statement boasting of the role Bass played in overseeing the police state. The “law enforcement action” statement declared:

“Mayor Bass was at the Incident Command Post at UCLA last night and into this morning with local and regional law enforcement leaders.”

Quoting Bass, it continued, “Harassment, vandalism and violence have no place at UCLA or anywhere in our city. My office will continue to coordinate closely with local and state law enforcement, area universities and community leaders to keep campuses safe and peaceful.”

While the encampment outside of the university’s Royce Hall building has been cleared out, hundreds of protesters still remained on campus early Thursday morning. Close to the site of the dismantled encampment, a large contingent of protesters confronted a skirmish line of officers, chanting, “Why were you invited here? There was no riot here!” The protesters pledged to remain on campus until their demands are met, including that the university divest from all funding for the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people.

Some of the signs from the UCLA Gaza Solidarity Encampment, May 2, 2024.

On Thursday, police confirmed that 132 people had been arrested. A state of effective martial law now exists on the second largest university in California. Classes had been canceled Wednesday and there is no word yet on when the campus will fully reopen, if at all, before the current academic year closes. Many cops remain on school grounds and access is severely restricted.

LAPD at UCLA, May 2, 2024.

No doubt cops are trying to prevent the establishment of another encampment while also concealing the scale of the horrific injuries they inflicted on anti-war protesters. A reporter for the World Socialist Web Site manged to enter the campus to document the aftermath of the police riot and conduct several interviews.

A UCLA student who wished to remain anonymous told the WSWS that as they were walking by encampment Tuesday night, “I saw a firework go flying into the encampment.” They added: “I would say the students in the encampment, everyone there, they were not doing anything to really provoke them. It was more so like the counter-protesters who were, it seemed, like just looking for violence.”

In an interview with the WSWS, Jimmy, a librarian at UCLA, backed up this account, saying the students were “peacefully protesting. They weren’t instigating anything... counter-protesters came up Tuesday night, they were the ones instigating the violence.”

He added that the right-wing thugs were protected by police because their “interests align with the police... and overall the interests of the university.”

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Following arrests, students and faculty continue to protest Gaza genocide at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

On April 29, twenty students at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) were detained while protesting the genocidal onslaught of Palestinians in Gaza by US-backed Israeli forces.

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The arrests at Case Western are part of the national wave of police repression directed from the White House against anti-war and pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The arrests took place soon after students organized a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the campus’ Kelvin Smith Library Oval. In justifying their authoritarian attack on free speech, campus police said that setting up tents “could prevent other students from walking across the space.”

Exposing the fraudulent character of the arrests, all 20 protesters that were detained on Monday have since been released and were not criminally charged. 

In response to the event, the school’s president Eric Kaler released a hypocritical statement declaring, “Challenges to the status quo are what make universities, especially ours, such powerful learning environments… We support these individuals’ rights to free speech, and Case Western Reserve police will protect their right to peaceful freedom of expression in accordance with our policies.”

Far from supporting “free speech,” on April 30 the university announced new restrictions on the encampment. The university initially said the encampment could continue as long as students and teachers provided identification and wore designated, brightly colored wrist bands throughout the night. Despite following these onerous stipulations, on May 2 the administration announced it was prohibiting all protest activities on campus, declaring them “unlawful.”

As a result of this decision, any person showing support for Palestine on campus grounds could be considered a trespasser regardless of the individual’s status as a student. 

Despite efforts of the CWRU administration to put an end to the protest through censorship and violence, over 100 students, teachers, and community members have remained on the grounds after the announcement of the university’s most recent restrictions. 

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Attempts by the university to censor pro-Palestinian and anti-genocide voices began well before the establishment of solidarity encampment. Earlier this year, Case Western officials suspended the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine for alleged “vandalism.”

Since October 7, anti-genocide demonstrations organized by various student groups on campus have been met with hostility from the school’s administration. 

Case Western is located only one hour north of Kent State University (KSU). Nearly 54 years ago, on May 4, Ohio National Guard soldiers drowned an anti-Vietnam war protest held on the campus in blood, shooting and killing four students. None of the students killed by the National Guard were armed and only two of them were actually protesting the Nixon administration’s support for the war when they were shot.

As the Biden administration is doing today, the Nixon Administration carried out a propaganda campaign against anti-war students in 1970. Instead of slandering them as “antisemitic,” or “terrorists” as today’s politicians do, Nixon characterized protesters as “bums” and “degenerates.” Republican Governor James Rhodes, who was responsible for dispatching the National Guard to KSU, publicly described the students as “worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes.”

Anti-genocide protesters arrested on New Hampshire campuses

90 arrests at Dartmouth College

Encampments set up at New England campuses against the Gaza genocide—including Boston’s Emerson College, where 118 were arrested, and Northeastern University, around 100 arrested—spread to campuses in New Hampshire on Wednesday, provoking a swift and violent response by campus administrators and police. Encampments have also been established at MIT, Harvard, Tufts and Brown universities.

In comments on Wednesday, New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, smeared protests on college campuses against war in Gaza as “100 percent pure antisemitism.” He said, “This is pure hatred. It is. And again, they have a right to express that. I’m disgusted by it, frankly.”

Sununu added, “One thing we can be very clear about: The state is not going to stand—and I don’t think these communities are going to stand or these institutions are going to stand—for disruption and destruction of property.” He went on to slander student protesters as ignorant and misinformed by social media, stating, “What is clear to me is that the vast majority of what’s happening on college campuses is uneducated prejudice and hatred.”

At Dartmouth College in Hanover, more than 90 protesters were arrested Wednesday night and Thursday morning at an encampment set up on Dartmouth Green. Protesters had erected a small group of four tents and hundreds of people had gathered to support the call for the college to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli war on Gaza.

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Dartmouth Provost David Kotz had sent an email to faculty and students, warning: “Students, employees, and organizations in violation of Dartmouth policies or local laws will be immediately subject to Dartmouth’s disciplinary processes, which could include separation and expulsion.”

The Boston Globe reports that the protest of about 100 on the green began around 5 p.m., with about 100 protesters forming a tight circle around the tents. By 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, about 30 state troopers and local police had arrived on campus. They warned protesters that they had 10 minutes to leave the area or face arrest. “If you do not leave the area, the use of physical force can be used against you and you will be arrested,” State Sgt. Sean Smarz told the gathering.

At 8:45 p.m., another trooper announced: “This is the New Hampshire state police. You are all under arrest for criminal trespass,” and the first protester was arrested about five minutes later. Troopers continued to arrest students, who did not resist.

Dartmouth history professor and Chair of Jewish Studies Annelise Orleck was thrown to the ground and arrested after reportedly yelling at the troopers. She has subsequently been banned from the campus, where she has taught for more than three decades, for attempting to defend the student protesters.

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Police brought in vans at 9:30 p.m. and began zip-tying arrested protesters. By 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Hanover police announced that about 90 people had been arrested.

Also at Dartmouth on Wednesday, graduate students began a strike over wages and benefits, with members of the Graduate Organized Laborers of Dartmouth-United Electrical Workers (GOLD-UE), gathering on Dartmouth Green.

Graduate student Logan Mann, a member of the GOLD-UE bargaining committee, said the union is negotiating for an increased annual salary, from $40,000 to $53,000, and use of the college’s childcare center and improved healthcare benefits, including dental and vision insurance.

Mann was quoted by WMUR saying, “We’ve taken this action because two-thirds of our members are currently rent-burdened, meaning that they pay over a third of their income in rent, often right back to Dartmouth.” He added, “Half of our members have not seen a dentist in our entire time here, and we have not had access to childcare.”

12 arrested at University of New Hampshire

Twelve protesters were arrested Wednesday evening in front of Thompson Hall on the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, where a small group had set up an encampment to protest the Gaza genocide.

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Police made much of the fact that two of those arrested were not UNH students, blaming outside agitators for the violence. “Officers were assaulted. Things were thrown at them,” said UNH Police Chief Paul Dean. “There was a lot of violence towards police tonight.” Students countered that the demonstration had been peaceful before police intervened.

Joshua Trombley, Graduate Student Senate president, told the Globe, “I think it was clear from the beginning that they were going to come in with riot police and violently clear the encampment, and that is what they ended up doing.” He added, “What I saw tonight was the most intense display of police violence that I’ve personally seen, and I was really shocked to see it on a college campus.”

A permit for the demonstration was obtained by the Graduate Student Senate. UNH Police Chief Dean said that Durham Police were called in when protesters began setting up tents in violation of university rules. In fact, university policies do not outright ban tents, but only overnight camping. UNH officials reportedly interpreted protesters’ references to their “encampment” as an indication of their intent to remain overnight, and called in police.

Police gave three warnings over a loudspeaker, saying that the protesters’ permit had been revoked and their assembly was unlawful. Police waited about 45 before moving in and making arrests. Students jeered police and university staffers who removed protesters’ tents, banners and other material left behind at the site after those arrested were taken away.

As New York police carry out mass arrests, Los Angeles cops abet right-wing rampage against UCLA anti-genocide encampment

In a coordinated state attack beginning at around midnight at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Gaza Solidarity Encampment, a gang of over 100 Zionists and fascists, many masked, assaulted the anti-genocide encampment on campus causing significant injuries to a number of students. The attack on the UCLA encampment was preceded by a massive police-state crackdown against Columbia and City College of New York (CCNY) students which saw the arrest of nearly 300 protesters Tuesday night.

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Students and faculty at the UCLA organized the encampment at Royce Hall on Thursday, April 25 in unity with over 100 other college encampments across the United States, and internationally, calling for their respective administrations to divest all economic and political ties with Israel.

In response to the peaceful protests, which follow months of marches against the mass murder in Gaza, President Joe Biden, Democratic and Republican politicians, have smeared students and faculty as “antisemitic” and “terrorists” for months.

A section of the right-wing mob that attacked the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at UCLA after midnight, May 1, 2024.

Emboldened by the backing of capitalist politicians and the police, a group of Zionist and fascist thugs assaulted the UCLA encampment shortly after midnight. Video shows them swinging clubs, spraying chemical agents, shooting fireworks, kicking and bludgeoning protesters. Videos of the attack quickly spread on social media soon after it began.

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Despite the extremely violent nature of the assault on peaceful proesters at a major US public university, Los Angeles police were not dispatched to the campus by Democratic Mayor Karen Bass until well after 1:00 a.m. Once the LAPD did arrive, they did nothing to stop the rampage for another hour.

Instead, the police provided the right-wing thugs ample opportunity to injure and beat more students and anti-war supporters. In total, violent right-wing thugs were permitted to attack and assault college students for nearly three hours.

The role of the police in suppressing democratic rights is instructive. The LAPD did nothing to intervene even as observers were attacked. Reporters with the student newspaper the Daily Bruin wrote they were “slapped and indirectly sprayed with irritants. Despite also being students, they were offered no protection.”

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After 2:20 a.m. local time, police finally began to make an attempt to separate the two groups. Violent fascists who spent the last two hours assaulting students were allowed to leave the campus without harassment, much less, arrest, from the police.

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While the LAPD took a “hands-off” approach to the rampage at UCLA, legions of NYPD riot police conducted mass sweeps and arrests of the anti-war encampment at Columbia and the City Collge of New York (CCNY) Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, the NYPD released a statement saying they had arrested 109 people at Columbia and 173 at CCNY.

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The brutal attack on anti-war protesters at UCLA on Wednesday, was not the first time students, faculty and other anti-genocide supporters on campus were attacked by pro-Israel fascists.

On Sunday, April 28 , Zionist counter-protesters, led by the Israeli American Council and backed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), held a pro-genocide rally across Royce Hall with loudspeakers and a large screen facing the student encampment. A GoFundMe account to pay for the massive audio and video system used by the provocateurs raised well over $90,000 in just over 4 days.

An independent reporter photographed a Zionist waving the flag of the fascist Jewish Defense League, an ultra-nationalist group founded by convicted terrorist Meir Kahane, at Sunday’s rally.

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Speaking at the pro-genocide rally at UCLA on Sunday, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, slandered anti-genocide protesters as “antisemitic.” Video and photos uploaded to social media showed pro-Israel/far-right counter-protesters spitting on peaceful protesters, using profanity, and in some cases, physically assaulting them.

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In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper the next day, Greenblatt said nothing about the attacks on students by pro-Israel elements, but instead, called for an escalation of police violence against the anti-war protesters.

“Number one, they do need to re-institute law and order…you need to make sure these students understand they got to play by the rules.

“No full face masking,” Greenblatt complained. “I just don’t think it’s appropriate, and it doesn’t impinge on your freedom of speech, that you shouldn’t dress up like an ISIS fighter...like they’re in Al-Qaeda.”

On Monday, April 29, reporters with the World Socialist Web Site interviewed a faculty member who participated in a rally at UCLA in support of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

Speaking on the violence that occurred over the weekend, he said, “I’m really proud of students in the encampment who redirected their attention to their demands and the discussion of what’s going on in Gaza and through discipline were able to ignore these provocations and continue their protest.”

“From my own personal observations over the past four days I haven’t seen any antisemitism in the encampments and I’ve been really proud of students’ efforts to clarify that this is a movement of support for Palestine from many different faiths including Jews who are leaders of this movement.”

Hannah, another faculty member who participated in the rally also spoke on the Zionist attacks that occurred at UCLA over the weekend.

“The thing that has been most difficult to me about the mainstream press coverage that I’ve seen so far, is the idea that when there is escalation there is this kind of both sides-ism,” Hannah said, adding:

I was in the encampment on Thursday and Friday. The students have done a really good job in de-escalating and occasionally they would call faculty members in to support de-escalation and so I myself was on the receiving end of that vitriol coming from the outside protesters and they are so clearly trying to instigate violence.

The students have done such an extraordinary job of de-escalating and not engaging, so then to see in the media that “Oh, things are getting heated,” the only thing that is heating things up are the outside agitators coming in and the students are doing an extraordinary job of de-escalating and I’m so proud of them.

Kaia, a UCLA student participating in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, told the WSWS, “We are fighting for UCLA to divest from corporations that are actively profiting off of the genocide in Gaza.

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“The conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism is just the go-to tactic of the Zionist agenda. You know, if I had to estimate, there are more Jewish people inside our encampment than Palestinian people. And our rhetoric is not antisemitic.”

New York police assault student protesters after White House denounces anti-genocide occupation at Columbia

At around 9 p.m. Tuesday night, hundreds of New York Police Department (NYPD) riot police descended on Columbia University to conduct mass arrests of students protesting the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

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Video shared on social media shows heavily armored police arresting students and faculty attempting to block their access to the university.

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In order to prevent objective documentation of their brutality, police forced legal observers, press and medics to leave the campus area, and even public streets nearby, before they began their assault. As of this writing it is unclear how many protesters have been arrested and the extent of their injuries.

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The police brutality witnessed at Columbia Tuesday night was replicated across the country. At the University of South Florida in Tampa, riot police were recorded firing tear gas and rubber bullets against unarmed and peaceful protesters.

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The coordinated and violent assaults on non-violent student encampments have been ordered from the White House. On Tuesday, the Biden administration issued a series of statements doubling down on the lie that anti-Gaza genocide protests continuing to spread across US university campuses are antisemitic, signaling its support for stepped-up police attacks and arrests of peaceful protesters.

Students at Columbia University before the police assault, April 30, 2024. [Photo: Juan Manuel Benítez]

In response to the occupation of Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall by pro-Palestinian students in the early morning hours of Tuesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates declared:

President Biden has stood against repugnant, antisemitic smears and violent rhetoric his entire life. He condemns the use of the term “intifada,” as he has the other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed in recent days. President Biden respects the right to free expression, but protests must be peaceful and lawful. Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful—it is wrong. And hate speech and hate symbols have no place in America.

Biden’s lead was taken up by New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former cop, who said “external actors” were behind the Columbia occupation and demanded that all protesters “leave the area now.” He added that the occupation “must end now.”

The occupation of the classroom building came in response to the university’s announcement that it had begun suspending students who defied its order that a protest encampment set up two weeks ago be disbanded. The administration effectively placed the entire campus on lockdown.

This followed the mobilization of New York City police to attack and arrest hundreds of protesters, who courageously refused to end their protest demanding that the university divest from Israel as part of the fight to stop the US/Israeli slaughter of Palestinians, which has already taken the lives of more than 34,000 defenseless civilians, mainly women and children.

Following the occupation of Hamilton Hall, the university announced that it would expel students who refused to leave the building.

The hypocrisy of the White House statement defies description. Biden and his accomplices in both parties and all branches of the government are supplying the fascistic government of Benjamin Netanyahu with the bullets, bombs, tanks, missiles and war planes that are being used to murder and starve Palestinians, while providing political cover for the murderous Zionist regime. Along with its imperialist and NATO allies around the world, the US is defying mass demonstrations all over the world demanding a halt to the greatest war crime since the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews during World War II.

In doing so, it is working with real antisemites and fascists in the Republican Party and far-right parties and organizations around the world. Meanwhile, it is seeking to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—whose only “crime” is to reveal to the public the truth of the crimes of American imperialism around the world—in order to put him in prison for life.

The direct attack on the Columbia protesters marks an escalation of the campaign by Biden and the Democratic Party to mobilize right-wing forces and unleash the police for increasingly violent attacks on peaceful protests on college campuses across the US. This reflects the fear in the ruling class that the stand of students and young people against mass murder abroad will merge with the growing opposition of workers to layoffs, speedup, wage cuts and government austerity policies.

Exactly 56 years ago, on April 30, 1968, Columbia students protesting against the Vietnam War and racism were occupying Hamilton Hall and other buildings when police violently cleared the campus. Over 700 people were arrested and almost 150 people were injured. The statements from the White House and a growing list of Democratic politicians signal support for similar attacks today.

Bates’ sanction of state violence against the students was followed by similar remarks from Biden’s national security communications adviser, John Kirby, who told reporters:

The president believes that forcibly taking over a building on campus is absolutely the wrong approach. That is not an example of peaceful protest. And, of course you’ve rightly noted, hate speech and hate symbols also have no place in this country.

There is virtually no evidence of “hate speech” or “hate symbols” among the protesters, a large portion of whom are Jewish. Rather, the entire political and media establishment now routinely equate defense of the Palestinians and their right to resist nearly a century of displacement, ethnic cleansing and repression, and opposition to Zionism, with antisemitism.

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Also on Tuesday, two New York Democratic Party liberal congressmen, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Adriano Espaillat, called on Columbia to “move quickly and swiftly to remove the students who have engaged in unlawful activity.” In a joint statement, they wrote that students engaged in acts of “vandalism” such as occupying buildings “should be held accountable.”

On the opposite coast, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu, both from California, issued a joint statement denouncing the Columbia occupation. “I do not support taking over a building, that is not appropriate and that should be addressed,” Aguilar wrote.

Lieu added, “You have the right to free speech in America, you can protest, but the First Amendment does not give you the right to break windows, to vandalize buildings, to take over private buildings, and to make students who happen to be of Jewish descent feel unsafe…”

While unleashing the police against peaceful anti-war, anti-genocide protesters, the Democrats have formed a virtual coalition in Congress with far-right, neo-fascist politicians who support the expanding global war overseen by the Biden administration, as codified in last month’s bipartisan passage of the administration’s $95 billion supplemental military appropriation.

Following a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Tuesday, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar released a statement pledging to supply the votes needed to keep Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson in office, should Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene follow through on her threat to seek Johnson’s removal by means of a “motion to vacate.” Johnson is an evangelical Christian fascist and virulent opponent of the right to abortion and other democratic rights. Just last week he staged a provocation on the Columbia University campus, where he taunted protesting students and demanded that they be physically ejected.

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Meanwhile, police attacks are escalating on US campuses. On Saturday, police assaulted and arrested Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. They crushed Stein’s ribs in the course of the attack, forcing her to seek medical attention after she was released from jail.

The same day, police threw Southern Illinois University Edwardsville history professor Steve Tamari, a Palestinian American, to the ground as they attacked protesters at Washington University, arresting scores of students and supporters. A Twitter/X post of video of the police attack noted:

Shocking footage shows several officers at Washington University St. Louis beating a professor, slamming him, and dragging his limp body. SIUE history professor Steve Tamari is reportedly hospitalized with broken ribs and a broken hand. One doctor told him he’s lucky to be alive.

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Gaza solidarity encampment initiated at University of California-Irvine

On Monday, April 29, students at University of California, Irvine (UCI) southeast of Los Angeles set up about 15 tents to start a pro-Palestine encampment by the Physical Sciences buildings to demand that the university divest its financial ties with Israel. The peaceful crowd of students, alumni, faculty and supporters grew throughout the day and culminated in a rally in the afternoon.

The Gaza solidarity encampment at the University of California-Irvine, April 29, 2024.

They shouted chants of “Biden, Biden, you’re a liar. We demand a ceasefire!” “Israel bombs, US pays, how many kids did you kill today?” “Money for schools and education, not for wars and occupation!” “Raise your fist, raise your fist, Palestine will exist!”

Gaza solidarity encampment at the University of California-Irvine, April 29, 2024.

Organizers and supporters of the encampment included Yalla Indivisible, UCI Divest, Students for Justice in Palestine and Orange County Jewish Voice for Peace.

Following the recent violent police mobilizations at UCLA and USC, UCI administration called for police to stand by. Besides campus police, there was a large Orange County Sheriff’s Department bus and 30 OC deputies carrying batons and face masks. Cops were also diverted from the nearby cities of Irvine, Costa Mesa, Westminster and Newport Beach. By late afternoon most police had left.

The WSWS interviewed people supporting the encampment. Edwin, a freshman, spoke about how the democratic right to free speech is being attacked.

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Another student, Antonio, described how the police mobilization was “kind of scary because you don’t know what they’re going to do.” He said earlier in the morning, campus police attempted to prevent the protesters from bringing in water and supplies to the site, but the students stood their ground, adding, “There are videos of them completely denying them access to public restrooms and stuff like that.”

He said he did not agree with the Biden administration: “In support of a foreign country [Israel], they are willing to suppress our rights as citizens.”

Also earlier in the day, after hearing that the school might ask them to leave, the protesters called on UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman’s office to “politely and firmly demand” a stop to what they termed a “heavy-handed” plan. They also asked that students who have been protesting not be punished. The prior Friday, hundreds of students held a demonstration demanding divestiture.

“We want to stand our ground,” Em Wang, a senior English major and leader of the protest, told Southern California News Group. “We’re going to stay until the university addresses our demands.”

Lulu Hammad, a community organizer and co-founder of Yalla Indivisible, said many of the students come from communities in Palestine directly affected by the Israeli genocide.

Carlos, a senior at UCI studying computer science, told the WSWS about the Israeli genocide, “It’s awful! Like there are no other words to describe it. It’s just terrible. It’s getting to the point where I’m pessimistic about there being a real change from the politicians that we have in power. They’re just doing absolutely nothing.” He agreed with the WSWS’s call for turning to the working class and urging labor actions to stop the production and transport of war materiel to Israel.

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Dr. Brook Haley, a Humanities Core professor, said only a few UCI professors have come forward so far and he hoped more would join the protests.

He pointed to the events in Paris in May-June 1968 when students and workers united against the Vietnam War. It was a similar situation that led to a general strike by the French working class. “I think seeing Palestinians suffering so widely broadcast in the media allows academics … and working class people … see conditions of living in a physical way that are atrocious. They’re seeing perhaps a less extreme version but nevertheless something similar to what Palestinians are experiencing in terms of mobility limitations, in terms of inadequate healthcare, in terms of state violence, police violence. All those things are experienced around the world, and we’re seeing it crystallized and magnified in Gaza. And I think that now the student-worker alliance is possible here.”

Gaza Solidarity Encampment, University of California-Irvine, April 29, 2024.

In a statement issued on Friday, April 26, the University of California system said it opposed calls for divestment from Israel.

Northwestern University encampment organizers end anti-genocide protest, provoking widespread opposition

On Monday afternoon, organizers of the student encampment at Northwestern University (NU) in the north suburb of Chicago reached an agreement behind closed doors with the university administration and shut down the protest against the genocide in Gaza.

Protesters against the Gaza genocide at Northwestern University on Thursday, April 25

The move was widely denounced by students and supporters. One student wrote, “Were your demands a space for MENA/Muslim students? Really? in the middle of a genocide??” Another person added on the joint working groups between the student organization and Northwestern: “I was part of working groups in undergrad. THEY DO NOTHING. They’re waiting for all you troublemakers to graduate in four years and keep the working groups trudging until everyone is tired.”

It is critical that students at Northwestern and across Chicago oppose this sellout agreement. The strategy, program and perspective of anti-war protests are increasingly critical questions. Behind the coordinated crackdown and repression of students at campuses across the country is the Biden administration and the Democratic Party, deeply nervous that the student protests against war will fuse with the struggles of the working class against intolerable levels of exploitation.

As the Socialist Equality Party’s 2024 US presidential candidate Joseph Kishore noted in a statement on X/Twitter: “This battle … cannot be waged on campuses alone. It must be taken into the working class, which has the social power to oppose imperialism and whose social interests are in conflict with the entire capitalist system.”

Kishore spoke at the Northwestern encampment on Saturday morning making precisely this appeal to students, before speaking at a meeting later in the afternoon in Chicago entitled, “The Gaza Genocide, War and the Fight for Socialism.”

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Read more on disbandment of the Northwestern encampment here.

Democrats demand police crackdown at Columbia University Gaza encampment

On the morning of April 29, 21 Democratic lawmakers issued a threatening public letter to the Trustees of Columbia University demanding they take “action ... now” to disband the anti-war encampment on campus, which they lyingly claimed was constructed by “anti-Jewish activists.”

Student protesters march round their encampment on the Columbia University campus, Monday, April 29, 2024, in New York. [AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah]

If the trustees were not willing, or able, to call in riot police, or perhaps the National Guard, to violently deal with college students and their professors peacefully protesting the university’s, and US government’s, complicity in the genocide in Gaza, the representatives demanded the trustees’ resignation.

The authoritarian letter was signed by several prominent Democrats, including Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the most senior member of the Democratic House, having been in Congress since May 1981. Until January 2023, Hoyer served as the Majority Leader in the House for over two decades, second-in-line to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Other prominent Democrats who signed the letter include Senate candidate and current California Representative Adam Schiff, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida), Josh Gottheimer (New Jersey) Dan Goldman (New York) Henry Cuellar (Texas), as well as Haley Stevens (Michigan).

In the letter, the Democrats expressed their “disappointment that, despite promises to do so, Columbia University has not yet disbanded the unauthorized and impermissible encampment.” Echoing fascistic Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, the Democrats repeated the “big lie” that protesting the mass slaughter of over 40,000 Palestinians, a majority women and children, was “antisemitic.”

The Democrats wrote that the encampment “has been the breeding ground for antisemitic attacks on Jewish students.” To back up their bogus claims of “antisemitism” the authors of the letter cited President Joe Biden’s April 21 statement which also repeated the slander.

At the same time the Democrats’ letter was released, Columbia President Minouche Shafik also released a statement claiming the encampment had created an “unwelcoming environment for many of our Jewish students and faculty.” She demanded students “voluntarily disperse.” Shafik’s statement was accompanied by a packet distributed to protesting students at the encampment warning them to disband and leave before 2 p.m. or face suspension/expulsion.

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Unfazed by threats from the Democrats or administration officials, it appears none of the students took them up on their offer to voluntarily disband. Instead, prior to the 2 p.m. deadline, dozens of Columbia faculty members joined the encampment and formed a human chain.

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The faculty were joined by up to 1,000 other students. As of this writing, the encampment remains, but it appears the university has begun suspending students. In a statement to the New York Times, Ben Chang, a spokesman for the school said, “We have begun suspending students as part of the next phase of our efforts to ensure the safety of our campus.”

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Since April 17, students at Columbia University, ranging from a few dozen to several hundreds, have occupied a section of the lawn. Despite the peaceful character of the protests, the university called in the riot police the following day, leading to the arrest of 108 people.

Massive police repression did not prevent the encampment from reconstituting on Columbia grounds, and spreading to other universities in the US and internationally, including in France, Germany, Spain, England and Australia. In addition to student encampments, protests against the ongoing genocide in Gaza have continued throughout the world, including in Tokyo, where students in construction helmets resisted riot police while chanting “No more!” “Free Palestine” and “Workers, unite!”

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In the United States, despite the police repression, several new encampments and protests in solidarity with Gaza have emerged on major college campuses. In response, several colleges have called in police to violently disperse them.

At the University of Texas-Austin, which saw mass protests and arrests last week, hundreds of riot police were called in by the administration to disperse a reestablished Gaza Solidarity Encampment on the South Lawn of the campus. Video shows riot cops assaulting students sitting on the grass before zip-tying and arresting them. Local reporters estimate that “dozens” have already been arrested.

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To justify the mass arrest of peaceful anti-war protesters, UT-Austin issued a statement before the arrests began claiming they found “rocks ... strategically placed within the encampment” and that the school had received “extensive online threats from a group organizing today’s protest.” The university did not disclose the nature of the alleged “threats.”

Video from Austin posted later in the afternoon showed students backing police down from the campus.

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At the University of Georgia in Athens, several students, many with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), were arrested less than two hours after establishing an encampment. The Atlanta Community Press Collective (ACPC) reported that 16 people were arrested and charged with criminal trespass.

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After being arrested in the morning, many of the anti-genocide protesters returned to the campus in the afternoon to participate in a pro-Palestinian protest.

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ACPC reported protesters demanded that the university divest from companies involved in the genocide in Gaza and that the university divest from companies supporting the construction of “Cop City” in Atlanta.

In Cleveland, Ohio at Case Western University, police were quickly called to disband an encampment established by students outside the library Monday morning. Local reports indicate roughly 50 people initiated the encampment, which was quickly surrounded by police who removed all of the tents. Roughly 20 people were briefly detained by police while the encampment was cleared.

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Major protests and walkouts have occurred on several other campuses. At UCLA in California, hundreds of students and faculty walked out of class on Monday in support of Gaza. After holding a brief rally, students and faculty marched around the campus chanting, “We will not stop, we will not rest, disclose, divest.”

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Hundreds of students at Whitman College, a liberal arts school in Walla Walla, Washington, walked out of class in solidarity with Gaza and other students.

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At the University of Chicago, students established an encampment on campus. A few hours north, in Madison, Wisconsin, hundreds of students have been protesting for several hours and tents have been set up.

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At the University of Indiana-Bloomington, hundreds of students and many senior faculty professors held a rally where they demanded the immediate resignation of IU President Pamela Whitten after she ordered state and local police to clear a peaceful encampment last Thursday.

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Gaza Solidarity Encampment organized at Western Michigan University

On Saturday, a joint Gaza Solidarity Encampment of students from Western Michigan University (WMU), Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College was set up near the Faunce Student Services building on the campus of WMU.

The students have received support from faculty members and members of the community for their action. There demands are: 1.) Full transparency as to where funds from the endowment are invested. 2.) Immediate divestment and distance from all companies and organizations with connections to the state of Israel. 3.) A public statement condemning the war crimes and genocide being carried out by Israel and an endorsement of Palestinian liberation; 4.) Full solidarity, support and protection to Palestinian students and faculty.

On Sunday afternoon, Roland, one of the organizers of the encampment, said there had been no contact with the university administration or campus law enforcement so far.

Roland, one of the organizers of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

However, on Monday, the organizers posted on social media that the university was demanding that the encampment be dismantled. They called on students, faculty and the community to rally to defend the protest.

Report: Over 900 anti-genocide protesters arrested on college campuses in the United States

In less than two weeks, police in the United States have arrested at least 900 people for participating in anti-war and pro-Palestinian protests according to a database maintained by the Washington Post. Students on college campuses in the US have organized over 75 protests and encampments on or near their schools, including at major Ivy League universities, beginning with Columbia University on April 17.

Students at the University of Texas-Austin tell the riot police, "You don't scare us!" April 24, 2024.

While the demonstrations have been led by students, in many cases faculty have joined the protests to register their disgust with their schools’ involvement in military projects, including deriving profits from the manufacture of Israeli weapons.

In response to protesters calling on universities to divest from Israeli companies, many administrators and university presidents, encouraged by politicians in both parties, have called the riot police on students peacefully protesting, leading to mass arrests.

On Saturday, at Washington University in St. Louis, some 100 people, including Green Party US presidential candidate Jill Stein, were arrested for participating in an encampment on campus.

Jason Call, Stein’s campaign manager, told Fox News Digital that he and another deputy campaign manager were also arrested alongside Stein and students.

On Sunday, Socialist Equality Party candidate for president Joseph Kishore posted a statement on X/Twitter denouncing the arrest of Stein and others:

The attack on protests nationwide is being directed by the Biden administration. It is supported by both the Democrats and the Republicans, the twin parties of the capitalist ruling elite.

Amidst the expanding protests in the US and internationally, both parties joined hands to pass a massive bill that Biden signed last weekend to finance the US-NATO war against Russia, the genocide in Gaza, and the developing conflict with China.

The corollary to global imperialist war is the vicious attack on democratic rights. The SEP is fighting to develop a movement in working class, connecting the defense of democratic rights to opposition to imperialist war and the capitalist profit system.

The aggressiveness of the police in response to anti-genocide protesters stands in stark contrast to the “hands-off” approach taken when it comes to neo-Nazis and white supremacists. As police rampaged on college campuses over the weekend, video emerged showing members of the Patriot Front marching through downtown Charleston, West Virginia, free from police interference.

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Over 1,000 students and community members march against genocide at Yale University

On Sunday afternoon, over 1,000 Yale students and community members rallied and marched across campus in New Haven, Connecticut against Yale’s complicity in the Gaza genocide and police repression on campuses.

Over 1,000 people protested the genocide in Gaza on April 28, 2024, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Many students from Yale spoke about their experiences being arrested at the request of the Yale administration for peacefully protesting on campus last week. UConn students, who recently erected a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on their campus, were also present and spoke. There was also a large contingent of students from Wesleyan University.

A child holds up a sign at the protest that reads, "Not one more child. From Palestine...to New Haven. No more murdered for greed or empire."

A Columbia graduate student—who was one of the over 108 students who were arrested in Harlem last week—traveled to New Haven for the protest. She read the October 16, 2023 statement issued by the Palestinian Trade Union Federation calling on workers in the US and internationally to halt all military arms to Israel.

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with students and workers at the New Haven protest.

Ky, a Yale student and organizer involved in the encampment, said, “I think it’s disgusting and shameful and as a student I feel ashamed to be a member of universities that are allowing police to treat peaceful protesters exercising their right to free speech in this way. In the United States of America, it is disheartening and frustrating and deeply shameful for me to witness this.” 

About the recent video from Gazans responding to the campus encampment, Ky said, “Honestly, when I saw the video of Gaza children thanking students from Harvard, from Yale, from McGill, from all over the place, it brought me to tears. I was so moved by this. It really is just a testament to how international and long lasting this movement is.”

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Two young workers from New Haven, Jeanne and Zasha, attended Sunday’s protest. Jeanne said, “We need to protect the students. To send basically the militia to crack down [with] arrests is absolutely unnecessary and it is a repeat of history of time and time again throughout every type of war…We need to let people know that we’re not tolerating this. We need to stop genocide.”

Zasha told the WSWS, “The struggle of Palestinians is the struggle of all oppressed people. Once we join together and we have that consciousness, we can be undefeated.”

On the Biden administration’s support and funding for the genocide, she said, “I was never affiliated with the Democratic Party.” She said she is looking to support a third-party anti-war socialist candidate and was interested to learn about the Socialist Equality Party’s campaign in the elections.

A New Haven Eighth Grader who attended the protest with her family spoke about the police crackdowns. “I think they’re scared because when we actually start speaking up and we actually start bringing awareness, it takes a toll on our government. And they don’t want us to reveal the truth about what’s happening in the Middle East and in Palestine, because Israel is a big partner for them and source of resources in the Middle East.

Students and community members at the New Haven, Connecticut protest, April 28, 2024.

“For universities, all they care about is how they look in the media. They don’t really care about people’s lives and what’s really going on. They just want to protect their image. They don’t want anything else to get in the way of that.”

Asked if she had heard about the $95 billion war spending bill passed by Congress and Biden this week, she replied. “Being American now, it’s really embarrassing that all our tax dollars are going abroad, instead of actually going to help us with free healthcare or stuff that we need fixing here. There’s so many homeless people in America, and what we’re focused on is funding a genocide, and it’s really embarrassing and really sad.”

Thousands of Chicago-area students protest Gaza genocide

This past Thursday, students at Northwestern University in the north Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois joined the global protest movement against the US-backed Israeli military campaign and built a Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Deering Meadow, a common area on campus.

Northwestern Gaza Solidarity Encampment, April 27, 2024.

Defying police violence earlier in the day, students continued to demonstrate at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment throughout the evening and into the weekend.

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Over the last four days, thousands of people have participated in anti-genocide protests throughout the Chicago metropolitan area despite pouring rain. Hundreds rallied at a campus encampment at Loyola University Thursday and Friday.

On Friday afternoon, protesters from multiple campuses in downtown Chicago walked out at noon. Students from Roosevelt University, Columbia College of Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago all walked out. Later in the afternoon, hundreds of protesters marched across the South Side of Chicago at the University of Chicago’s campus.

Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president Joseph Kishore marched alongside protesters and spoke to a number of students and workers.

Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Joseph Kishore speaking with students at the University of Chicago protest.

Kishore said:

I’m here at the University of Chicago where there are hundreds protesting the genocide in Gaza. We’re here to support the demonstrators and denounce the mass arrests being carried out throughout the country under both Democrats and Republicans, and directed by the Biden administration.

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The fight against genocide must be developed as a fight against both the Democratic and Republican Parties, and on the basis of a turn to the working class — that social force which has the power to shut down production and oppose the capitalist-imperialist system.

In an interview with the WSWS, one student at the University of Chicago said:

I came out here because there’s kids being slaughtered overseas. And the US government lets it happen. They are doing nothing about it. They are conspiring with Israel to slaughter innocent people and that’s unacceptable. We need to stop these injustices.

For me, we need to take back America to the working class, the 90 percent of people who do the work and pay taxes, and we need to take it back from the rich people. We can’t just have a society for a tiny fraction of a fraction. This is a war machine and a bunch of warmongers with billions of dollars who profit off killing people and we need to put a stop to that. The American working class is struggling to buy food from Target. They kill people overseas, but there’s no money here.

A history student added:

I’ve been organizing with UChicago United for Palestine. We are out here first and foremost in solidarity with Gaza. We are also in solidarity with other US college protest movements. We’ve been campaigning since October 7, and before, to divest from death here and in Palestine.

I do believe there needs to be an international working class movement to overthrow capitalism and freeing Palestine is part of that. And part of freeing Palestine is overthrowing capitalism. The university is part of a neoliberal financial institution. Even grad students and faculty members are here as part of the working class, and we’re opposed to this institution that’s deeply linked to imperialism and global capitalism and financial imperialism.

Encampment set up at Montreal’s McGill University as anti-genocide protests spread to Canada

Following the example of students across university campuses in the United States, Europe, and Australia, students at McGill University’s downtown Montreal campus set up an encampment Saturday to oppose the Gaza genocide and Canadian imperialism’s complicity in it. The action was strengthened after participants in a protest march through downtown joined the indefinite encampment.

Students and faculty at the encampment on the campus of McGill University in downtown Montreal, April 27, 2024

Students are demanding that the university divest from Israeli companies and speak out against the genocide. A statement from a protest organizer sent to CBC called for McGill and Concordia universities to “divest from funds implicated in the Zionist state as well as [cut] ties with Zionist academic institutions.” The organizers cited 50 companies financed by McGill that are “complicit in upholding the apartheid regime of Israel.”

Two students who spoke to World Socialist Web Site reporters expressed opposition to their tuition fees being used to fund military research that benefits the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Israeli companies.

“It’s utterly hypocritical for classes at McGill to teach students about settler colonialism in Canada, while the university supports Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians,” said one student, adding, “it is important that students are willing to sacrifice and face police repression in order to call attention to this genocide and protest the government’s complicity.”

Asked whether they thought the protest would prompt a change of course by the political establishment, they responded, “That is the hope.”

Students and faculty have set up an encampment on the campus of McGill University in downtown Montreal, April 27, 2024.

Far from allowing the protests to impact their fulsome support for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, representatives of the political elite responded with demands for a ruthless crackdown on the encampment. Anthony Housefather, a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, wrote on X/Twitter, “Encampments are a violation of university policy. City police are municipal & universities fall under provincial jurisdiction. I call upon university administrators, police (and if needed provincial governments) to act. We can’t allow what is happening in the US to happen here.”

The Trudeau government has spearheaded a vicious witch-hunt against pro-Palestine protesters since Israel’s genocidal onslaught began. The government has smeared them as “antisemites” as it has sent millions of dollars in weaponry and other military equipment to the IDF.

McGill has been a centre of ongoing protests against the genocide over recent months. In early March, a group of students began a hunger strike on campus to demand divestment from “companies that support the Israeli military.”

“Money they are getting from us students—is going to produce weapons which are killing innocent people,” Michigan State student tells WSWS

This past Thursday morning, about 60 students at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing set up a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” to express solidarity with other pro-Palestinian and anti-genocide protesters.

A banner at the Michigan State Gaza Solidarity Encampment, April 25, 2024.

In the afternoon, reporters with the World Socialist Web Site interviewed students at the encampment. One student said:

It’s horrifying! MSU knows many people are concerned about this. They know we don’t want our money funding a literal genocide, but they lie and mislead. They are not even really trying to hide that they’re lying because they know that they’ve had control for so long. That’s why I think it’s important for us to be out here and saying, “We’re not chill with this! Stop pretending like this isn’t happening—what you think is okay is disgusting and horrible and harming the entire world!”

Another student explained:

I know some of my friends here who have done research into it. They’ve looked through MSU’s investments, and they have about $200-$400 million invested in weapons manufacturers. So that’s a problem, because, I mean, it’s unethical to have this much money invested in weapons manufacturers, because money they’re getting from tuition—money they’re getting from us students—is going to produce weapons which are killing innocent people, not just in this conflict, several conflicts!

When asked what he thought about the idea of students turning to the working class to broaden the movement opposed to genocide and imperialist war, he responded, “I’m all for it—I’m all for it!”

On Thursday and Friday, the students at the encampment held teach-ins and rallied several times each day to protest the schools’ investments in what what one student described as “the war machine.”

As with many of the other encampments, despite the peaceful and non-violent character of the protest, Michigan State Police were dispatched to the site and remained there until the encampment organizers, the Hurriya Coalition, shut it down on Saturday. No arrests were made.

Statements the Hurriya Coalition made on its Instagram page did not indicate why the encampment was disbanded.

The Hurriya Coalition, similarly to the TAHRIR Coalition at the University of Michigan, is an alliance of pro-Palestine groups on campus. These include pseudo-left groups affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), whose prominent members, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, among others, just voted to send $60.8 billion to fund the ongoing war against Russia in Ukraine. A majority of congressional Democrats also voted to send more than $26 billion to Israel and more than $8 billion to build up Taiwan as a US military base against China.

The protests by students and faculty against the mass murder in Gaza reflect the deep opposition that exists among youth and working people to US imperialism’s policy of global war. However, the perspective of limiting the movement to campus protests and calls to college presidents to “divest” has proven to be futile. Far from divesting, college presidents are heeding the call of fascistic Republicans and their Democratic allies, headed up by President Biden, to bring in the police to stomp out opposition to war profiteering.

Over six months of peaceful protests asking a Congress of millionaires and the twin parties of the ruling class to stop the killing have fallen on deaf ears. To put an end to genocide, war and the drive to dictatorship, students must break with the Democratic Party and fight to mobilize the American and international working on the basis of a socialist program.

Campus protests against Gaza genocide spread globally despite police repression

In the face of violent attacks and arrests from police thugs, and a stream of lies from politicians, thousands of students, faculty, and their supporters, have continued to protest the genocide in Gaza and build encampments on their college campuses in the United States, Europe and Australia.

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Attempts by capitalist politicians, corporate journalists, and even the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, to portray the encampments as “antisemitic” or embryonic “terrorist” cells have failed. Students of every faith, including many Jewish students and atheists, have taken part in the demonstrations which are calling for their universities to divest from corporations engaged in genocide.

Following the establishment of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on April 17 at Columbia University in New York City, more than 40 other pro-Palestinian encampments have sprung to life in the United States. Solidarity encampments have also been established in Italy, France and Germany.

Along with the encampments, global protests against the genocide in Gaza have continued on every major continent. In Sanaa, Yemen, over a million people, as they have for over six months, gathered on Friday to protest the US-backed campaign in Gaza.

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The military campaign by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against the civilian population of the narrow enclave—with the use of American-supplied bombs and fighter jets—has officially killed over 34,000 Palestinians, no doubt a severe under-count, while injuring over 80,000 more. More than 1 million people have been displaced over the last six months with most homes, schools and hospitals damaged or destroyed.

Fueled by outrage over the unstinting US and European military support for the slaughter, exemplified in the most recent bipartisan passage of the $95 billion war supplemental, protests have continued throughout the world. Despite the overwhelming peaceful character of the protests, police have initiated a violent crackdown on the demonstrations, arresting hundreds of students and faculty members for opposing their universities’ and governments’ complicity in the genocide.

In Berlin on Friday, in front of the Reichstag (seat of federal parliament) German police choked, punched and arrested non-violent anti-war protesters. Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president Joe Kishore denounced the attack, writing on Twitter/X that “German imperialism is returning to its Nazi traditions.”

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In the United States, mass arrests took place on Thursday at the Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio and Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. Prior to the arrests, students photographed and videotaped armed police snipers on the rooftops of campus buildings with their weapons trained on students.

Photos and video stills showing snipers on the rooftops of the Ohio State (left) and Indiana (right) University, in Columbus, Ohio and Bloomington, Indiana, April 25, 2024.

At Ohio State, roughly 40 people, including some faculty, have been arrested since Tuesday. According to local reports, 36 people, including 16 students, were arrested on Thursday night following a police rampage on the encampment site. Social media video shows dozens of police in riot gear and with batons assaulting the students for being on the grass.

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Saphia Abdelsalam, a student at Ohio State, told NBC4 that the protest was peaceful when police began arresting students. “We just wanted to be peaceful and stand our ground, and then [the police] made it not peaceful. They started attacking and started arresting,” she said.

At least 33 students were arrested during a Thursday rally at Indiana University’s Dunn Meadow in Bloomington. The students were arrested for violating a university policy that an “ad hoc” committee at the university implemented on April 24, the day before the protest was scheduled to begin, which banned “temporary structures” on campus.

Outraged over the arrests of their students, dozens of faculty at IU joined students in a protest Friday in Dunn Meadow.

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On Saturday, police snipers were again photographed on the University of Indiana campus.

Police snipers on the University of Indiana campus, April 27, 2024.

The mass arrests and violent actions taken by the police on every US campus is not the result of a few rogue departments. The police, via orders transmitted to Department of Homeland Security fusion centers, are carrying out directives ordered by President Joe Biden.

On April 21, in a White House statement, Biden repeated the lie that “blatant antisemitism” was taking place on “college campuses” and that his administration will “aggressively implement the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, putting the full force of the federal government” behind the effort.

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The following day, Biden repeated the “big lie” stating that he condemned the “antisemitic protests” on campuses and that “I’ve set up a program to deal with that.”

The results of this state-backed censorship program, can be seen on various campuses. On Friday, police arrested students at the encampment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Police also arrested students on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado, who were simply sitting cross-legged on the ground next to their tents.

CBS Colorado reported that the protesters were handcuffed and led to a bus that was labelled “Denver Sheriff.” In addition to police, CBS reported that there “appeared to be Colorado National Guard members” as “part of the law enforcement seen on campus.”

At Wayne State University in Detroit, police were observed assaulting students as they were demanding the Board of Governor’s divest from Israel.

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Coupled with state violence, the Biden administration has dispatched top campaign surrogates to the encampments in the past 48 hours in an attempt to politically neuter and smother the protests.

On Friday, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) members and New York Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman both traveled to Columbia University to meet with organizers. Their appearance at the encampment drew rebukes from thousands of social media users.

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On Thursday, Texas Rep. Greg Casar, another DSA member, went to the University of Texas at Austin to meekly declare his support for a “ceasefire.” The same day Casar was in Austin, USA Today published an interview with him in which he hailed Biden as “the most pro-worker president in my lifetime.”

On Wednesday, 57 students were arrested in Austin for “trespassing.” A Texas-based NPR reporter confirmed with a spokesperson from the university that even though the charges against the students were dropped the following day, the students will still not be allowed back on campus for at least the rest of the semester. It is unclear if the students will be allowed to complete their final exams or attend graduation.

Repression of pro-Palestinian supporters on the Texas campus continues to intensify. On Friday, the Austin chapter of the Palestine Solidarity Committee confirmed that the university suspended the club from campus. In a statement, the PSC-ATX wrote: “UT’s suspension of the Palestine Solidarity Committee is an attack on free speech to distract from and enable [Israel’s] genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people!”

In a statement posted from Austin on Thursday, Socialist Equality Party candidate for US vice president Jerry White denounced the attacks on the students, saying it “is not only an attack on the rights of these students to protest, it is an attack on the right of the working class.

“It will be workers whose sons and daughters die in these wars, whether it’s in the Middle East, or the new wars expanded against Russia in Ukraine and against China,” White said, adding that “workers have no interest in these wars and every interest to fight against them.”

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International students in New York City denounce attacks on anti-genocide protesters, “The struggle for Palestine and the struggle by workers everywhere are the same”

Students and faculty in New York continued to protest the ongoing genocide in Gaza on Friday even in the face of police violence, Zionist attacks, and threats of suspension, expulsion and job loss from universities.

A section of the pro-Palestinian protest in New York City, April 26, 2024.

On Friday, “Faculty for Justice in Palestine” reported that “Mathematics postdoctoral scholar and instructor” Darren King was fired from New York University on April 15, for removing pro-Israel posters from a construction barrier last fall. Right-wing and Zionist elements had been lobbying for King’s firing for months after video of him removing the posters went viral in pro-Israel circles.

Police attempted to break up the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at NYU on Friday, but retreated after several faculty members joined the students and locked arms facing the police.

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Following the demand of fascistic Republican politicians to cancel the visas of international students for voicing opposition to US-backed Israeli ethnic cleansing, on Friday, Cornell University Ph.D grad student Momodou Tall revealed on his Twitter/X account that he and three other students/grad workers had been suspended for organizing an encampment on campus.

Tall wrote that the Cornell administration:

deliberately targeted students with precarious positions such as visa status. They have given me a grace period but I am no longer permitted on campus. I know they have done this as a means of bringing down the encampment. The university has acted in extremely bad faith and refused to engage in any form of dialogue about our demands. It is clear that they are more concerned with appeasing their Zionist donors and keeping their hands drenched in blood than over the expressed refusal of their students and workers. I’m okay and please don’t stop talking about Palestine.

The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) distributed leaflets at a protest in Washington Square Park on Friday, just steps away from the center of the New York University (NYU) campus, where 120 students who set up an encampment on Gould Square were arrested this week. The leaflets contained a statement by Socialist Equality Party (SEP) candidate for US president Joseph Kishore which opposed attacks on student demonstrators and called for mobilization of the working class in defense of the democratic rights across the country. 

The IYSSE spoke with Claire, a history student from Paris. 

I think these attacks on students are absolutely disgusting. As a community we need to better. We need to mobilize to end the occupation in Gaza and liberate Palestine. We need to make our government understand that they cannot repress us by just shutting us down. That is not how democracy works. We will fight for our rights and the freedom of everyone. 

At the end of the day, the struggle for Palestine and the struggle by workers everywhere are the same. Everybody just wants a decent wage, decent standard of living, decent education, and decent help for acquiring food and basic necessities, decent housing—it’s all the same struggle—people just want to be able to live with decency. And that is something that we lack. It is becoming more and more difficult to just live a regular life with the money that is available. It’s insane.

I don’t support for any wars. I agree that all of the wars that are happening have been planned for a long time. We’ve seen a lot of people speak out against these wars. But it really feels like we are not even being listened to. Nobody in the government hears the people. What does it even mean to elect people if they then just turn around and ignore us? 

All of these wars were a huge eye opener for people. We see the youth much more engaged, because we now see the government revealed to be extreme rightist pieces of trash. So these protests were really needed and I’m glad young people are speaking up.

Eric, a computer engineering student from Beijing, told the IYSSE: 

What happened to the students this week was very bad. The school acted in coordination with the state government, and the schools are not protecting their students at all. The politicians are harming the rights and freedom of students who are peacefully protesting. So now we have to stand with peace and democracy. I really hope that the students involved are not harmed and that they are absolved of any wrongdoing. 

Los Angeles police blockade University of Southern California campus from public, press after arresting 93 protesters

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On Wednesday, April 24, Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear brutally arrested 93 protesters on trespassing charges at the University of Southern California (USC). Early that morning, hundreds of students and protesters set up a peaceful encampment at Alumni Park, where the yearly commencement ceremonies take place. LAPD officers surrounded the park in the afternoon, while USC administration closed the campus allowing only those with university IDs entry.

LAPD officers were posted at every entrance to the USC campus in order to block the entry of any non-students or faculty, April 25, 2024.

Protesters included members of pro-Palestinian groups such as Trojans for Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. Several professors also joined the protest Wednesday, holding a sign that said, “USC faculty against the genocide in Palestine.”

The protest comes after more than a week of campus tensions that began when USC President Carol Folt, caving in to Zionist groups, canceled the speaking engagement by valedictorian Asna Tabassum that was supposed to take place at the May 10 main-stage commencement, which was expected to draw 65,000 people.

On Thursday, as the protests continued the USC administration announced that the main commencement event was being cancelled, to be replaced by individual departments’ ceremonies. The two other featured speakers, film director Jon M. Chu and tennis legend Billie Jean King, were also canceled.

On Thursday, WSWS reporters attempted to speak with students in the encampment but were blocked from entering the campus by LAPD.

Cops with the Los Angeles Police Department prevented anyone who was not a student or staff from entering the University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles, April 25, 2024.

This did not prevent WSWS reporters from speaking with several USC students who were outraged at the violence meted out to the protesters and the cancellation of graduation ceremonies.

Abiye, a freshman at USC studying film, said, “I think it’s terrible that they’re canceling the commencement ceremony just because they’re scared of one person in her speech might say something sympathetic about Palestinians. And I think that they’re not being transparent about the security concerns that they say would be caused by her speech. I don’t know, I think it’s awful.

“If you would have gone inside there and seen what the students were doing, they were sitting down peacefully, just talking. I don’t get it how something like that is being so misrepresented.”

Anastasia, a philosophy student at USC, said, “I actually wasn’t shocked that all this happened because USC has been doing some controversial things lately. Like when they canceled Asna’s speech, and they also canceled commencement ceremony just did this today. The class of 2024, they keep getting pushed around.”

Kim, a graduate student at USC studying electrical engineering, said, “It was a peaceful protest. People were mostly sitting down, and it really wasn’t violent. Most of the people were informing about why we should support Palestine. That was the gist of it when I was there.

“Then the police came. I left when we all got emails that the police were coming. I think it was really unnecessary for the police to come, but I don’t know what intentions USC may have had to send in the police. Most of the people I saw were students.”

Anti-war encampment grows at University of Pittsburgh: “Biden, Trump, Bush and Obama, all of them are committed to continuing war”

Many students, and some faculty, are participating in the encampment at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 25, 2024.

Students and faculty from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University along with many supporters from throughout Pittsburgh set up an encampment in support of the Columbia University students and faculty and against Israel’s genocide in Gaza on Thursday.

“We think it’s wrong that the university should be assisting in and profiting from the genocide which is taking place in Gaza,” one of the protest organizers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the university, told the World Socialist Web Site.

The University has a $5.5 billion endowment but refuses to make public the corporations that they invest in.

“We are against genocide. We don’t want the University of Pittsburgh to support or profit from genocide,” the organizer continued.

Anti-genocide student protesters at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 25, 2024.

Asked about the label that people protesting the genocide in Gaza are being called antisemitic in the press and by the Biden administration, they replied, “Our organization is made-up of people from all backgrounds and religions including Muslims, Jews, Christians, white, black, brown, Latinx, Asian and indigenous American and all genders and members of LGBTQ+. We are against all forms of hate, we do not tolerate antisemitism as much as we don’t tolerate Islamophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. About thirty percent of the people on our organizing committee are Jewish, including two people who are from the Tree of Life synagogue.”

In 2018 a fascist adherent of the antisemitic and anti-immigrant “Great Replacement Theory” murdered 11 worshipers and injured 6 others at the synagogue.

Asked to comment on the passage of the most recent $95 billion war supplemental, which was supported by the White House, Democrats and Republicans, and included over $26 billion for Israel, the organizer replied: “Biden, Trump, Bush and Obama, all of them are committed to continuing war and the destruction of the world. That is why we are trying to build a movement to unite people throughout the world.”

Lita Brillman, who came with a group of friends said:

I’m a lifelong member of the Jewish community here in Pittsburgh. I was born and raised here, and I actually do not want a genocide to be committed in my name.

I find it really offensive and antisemitic how much the Jewish perspective is all being wrapped into one thing—one Zionist perspective. They’re saying that protests like this are antisemitic. But all I see is people protesting injustice. The same way that we were raised to as Jews and embodying the spirit of Tikkun olam. This is a really nice, peaceful, respectful and coalitional protest.

Lita Brillman

Lita explained that the “antisemitism” smear is,

definitely just the most convenient way for the state to frame. It so that they can maintain some sort of semblance of moral high ground. But it’s all lies, it’s all just to maintain power. It’s all for them to maintain their endowments from wealthy donors. To create an illusion that the protesters are being violent or disruptive while still teaching social justice classes and arresting their own professors. The crackdowns are all just to hide the hypocrisy and make us appear dangerous when we are not.

Asked about Biden and the Democrats siding with right-wing and fascistic Republican to get the war bill passed she replied, “I proudly voted uncommitted on Tuesday because I don’t believe that we should give people our votes just because there’s some theoretical something worse out there. Politicians need to earn our votes. I don’t think that Biden is much better than any of those other fascists.”

Another protester who works for the University of Pittsburgh and asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation said that the school is complicit in genocide:

We need to rise our power as workers, to hold our bosses to account. I stand for the value of human life and that value is not being respected or upheld.

I just think the militarization of our police forces; the private police forces by the universities it’s not right. It’s not healthy for society. I’m seeing tremendous resilience from students right in the face of unprecedented repression. People are still taking to the streets. Are still protesting their universities.

The faculty member added, “We need to stand together. We’re all in this together.... People are voicing their displeasure through these camps around the country.”

Hundreds arrested and assaulted by US police as protests against Gaza genocide expand on college campuses

In spite of police assault and threats of expulsion, student-led encampments demanding an end to the genocide in Gaza have continued to spread on university campuses in the United States and internationally over the last 24 hours. As of this writing, over 40 college campuses across 22 states in the US have encampments or protests ongoing.

Around 200 students protested the ongoing genocide in Gaza at Georgetown University, April 25, 2024.

In response to the peaceful demonstrations, local and state police have been summoned by university administrators, at the behest Republican and Democratic politicians, to conduct mass arrests and assaults. As of this writing, over 400 arrests have been reported.

Those incarcerated by US police for sitting on grass or camping on pavement to voice their opposition to the genocide include many Jewish students, and even faculty.

One of the largest police actions occurred Thursday morning, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. At least 108 people were arrested after erecting an encampment in the morning. Even though the encampment was entirely peaceful, city and state riot police viciously assaulted protesters less than four hours into the demonstration.

In one video, Georgia State Police and cops with the Atlanta Police Department are seen tackling and choking students, while another cop is heard firing dozens of pepperballs into the crowd.

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In another disturbing video, a cop is shown using a taser on an already handcuffed person. As the person is being tased, two other cops pushed down on the person with their body weight.

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While it appears many of those arrested at Emory were students, faculty who stood alongside their students were also not spared police repression. In one video, an Emory student documented the arrest of Noelle McAfee, chair of the Philosophy Department at Emory.

In the video, the student is heard attempting to gather information to assist Professor McAfee as she’s being led away in handcuffs by a thuggish trooper wearing a black balaclava. As McAffee gives her name to the student, the cop is seen squeezing and twisting her arm.

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Another video documented Emory University Economics professor Caroline Fohlin thrown to the ground and arrested by police. Prior to assaulting the professor, one of the cops is heard yelling at her to “Get on the f***ing ground!”

The cop is shown grabbing the professor by the arm and throwing her to the concrete, causing her glasses to fall off. Another cop grabs and twists her other arm as they put in her handcuffs. A voice is heard off camera yelling at the cops, “You people are fascist!”

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An Emory student told a local CBS reporter, “They got my friend, they tackled him to the ground ...It makes me feel sad, but not just for Emory University, but for the state of America. What the hell is this? It’s freedom of speech. We didn’t even do anything wrong, now people are tied up, heads down ... it’s atrocious.”

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Following the police assault on the encampment, Emory University President Gregory Fenves stated in a campus-wide email that the protest was “completely unacceptable.”

The scale of the attacks against the protesters reflects the heightened nervousness of the corporate and financial backers of Emory University. This fear of the ruling capitalist class to opposition against its economic and political prerogatives is replicated throughout the entire education system in the US. 

While the university advances superficial claims about “advancing racial and social justice,” Emory’s board of trustees consists of representatives from Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Coca-Cola, among others. These are the real interests the university administration is beholden to and seeks to advance against the popular opposition to state-sponsored genocide.

In Boston, Massachusetts, near Emerson University, 108 anti-genocide protesters were arrested early Thursday morning after putting up an encampment in Boylston Place alley, a walkway near the college. The number of students arrested at Emerson is the same number of students who were arrested at Columbia University last week.

Video of the arrests early Tuesday morning shows police grabbing students and throwing them to the ground. While on the ground, police are observed choking and smashing students faces into the pavement.

In the morning, a student at the university recorded city workers cleaning up the blood from students following the police assault.

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In Evanston, Illinois, police attempted to break up an encampment erected by students at Northwestern University. The Daily Northwestern reported that police are “getting physically violent with faculty.”

One faculty member was heard yelling at the police, “You will not touch our students.”

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As of this writing, it appears police have temporarily retreated from the campus. In an interview with the Daily Northwestern, a student organizer with the encampment said they planned to continue their demonstration until university officials agreed to demands advanced by local chapters of Educators for Justice in Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

In two other major police actions, cops at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, confirmed they made 93 arrests Wednesday evening. In Austin, Texas, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed police arrested 57 people on Wednesday at the University of Austin.

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“The right to protest is at stake,” Columbia student tells WSWS

Student encampments continued at Columbia and other New York City-area universities on Thursday.

The anti-genocide encampment at Columbia University, April 25, 2024.

Sitting on the steps of the library, a student majoring in English, told the WSWS, “The right to protest is at stake.”

Motioning toward the encampment, “It is only an anti-war protest. It has not become something more. It is not really new. Students protested Vietnam, South African apartheid. But it is growing fast and the possibilities are greater...Our voices are much stronger. But I think it is a cyclical thing, that these struggles happen in election years. Biden’s $95 billion bill with the arms it is sending out is making young people angrier.”

Another student at Columbia commented on the massive police-state response to the peaceful protests. “If it was something they weren’t so scared of, they wouldn’t send in the National Guard, the police and all of these things. The idea of people truly being liberated scares folks in positions of power.”

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In addition to Columbia, protests are ongoing at City College of New York (CCNY), less than a mile north. CCNY is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. CUNY security attempted to remove the encampment but was repelled by a large crowd of supporters.

Winter, a graduate of the CUNY system who came out in support of CCNY students, told the WSWS, “I expected CCNY to be among the first to protest the genocide because it is more working class than Columbia or NYU. Everyone knows that CCNY students are tied to the working class. There is a need to get support from the unions but they are hierarchical and there needs to be a shift of the union workers from the Democrats. The Democrats are trying to contain the protests, trying to give us a larger cage, to pretend we have our freedom, to keep us to little protests. We need to have all of the money and time and energy divested from Israel and other imperialism. There is no reform to this system. This system is not sustainable.”

In Midtown Manhattan, protesters stormed the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology building and set up an encampment. As of late Thursday, several dozen students remained in the lobby while others protested outside.

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Protests alos continued at New York University outside the boarded up Gould Plaza, the site of the student occupation Tuesday raided by the NYPD, which resulted in 120 arrests.

Hundreds of students rally against genocide in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of students gathered at tent encampments throughout the Washington, D.C. region this week as a part of the Gaza solidarity movement to oppose the US-backed Israeli genocide.

The student-led encampment at George Washington University, Washington D.C., April 25, 2024.

On Monday, students occupied the lawn at University of Maryland (UMD), in the suburbs of the nation’s capital. On Thursday, students at George Washington University (GWU) built an encampment as hundreds gathered from throughout the region. Earlier in the day, hundreds of students marched at Georgetown University to protest the genocide.

World Socialist Web Site reporters interviewed students at the protests.

A philosophy student at GWU told a WSWS reporter, if the working class mobilizes against the genocide “together we will be a lot stronger.”

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The student explained that the root of the genocide, like the exploitation of the workers, was capitalism. “It’s all an interconnected system… we need to work together to overthrow the system.”

Student and faculty protest the genocide in Gaza at George Washington University, Washington D.C., April 25, 2024.

Despite the peaceful character of the encampment, authorities at GWU, as they have at other universities, have moved to crack down on the protest. Previously, the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was suspended for projecting images at buildings with slogans calling for the liberation of Palestine and for GWU to divest itself from Israeli apartheid. 

On Thursday, protesters were beset by Zionist student provocateurs and faculty who were attempting to photograph and doxx participants at the school. 

Ahlam, a public health student at the UMD rejected the claim the protests are antisemitic as “completely false.”

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She explained the claim conflated things which were “not equivalent… anti-Zionism is a very strong political movement to stop the apartheid state of Israel and Zionism is a… racist, fascist ideology… anti-Zionism is trying to stop that.”

In an effort to limit the outpouring of solidarity and decrease the visibility of the protest, GWU administrators sought to run media reporters and supporters off the premises. 

“We will not allow students from other local colleges or unaffiliated individuals to trespass on our campus,” stated GWU president Ellen Granberg in emails to campus faculty reported by the Washington Post. The Post relayed that Granberg had “requested the assistance of D.C. police officers after ‘multiple instructions made by GWPD to relocate to an alternative demonstration site on campus went unheeded by encampment participants.’”

GWU has imposed a curfew on the students which went into effect at 7:30 p.m. local time Thursday. As of this writing the encampment has only increased in size after the curfew.

Boston police forcibly remove tent encampment at Emerson College

Boston police in riot gear moved in on a peaceful encampment at Emerson College in the early morning hours Thursday, arresting 108 pro-Palestinian protesters at the “Popular University Encampment.” Videos posted on social media show police in helmets and reflective jackets forcibly dismantling the tent camp at Boylston Place Alley. Students in nearby buildings could be heard pounding on their windows as the arrests were made.

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Boston Emergency Medical Services reported four people were taken to area hospitals. Boston police reported four officers injured and said no arrested protesters suffered injuries, although those on the scene said two students were injured in the assault.

According to the Berkeley Beacon, the Emerson student newspaper, shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday seven police vans arrived in front of the walkway at the Boylston Street side of the encampment, and arrests of protests soon ensued. Photos and video taken at the scene showed officers wearing helmets and visors, with some appearing to be wearing tactical gear.

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A Massachusetts State Police spokesman said several troopers were also sent to the area to “maintain security” and to “assist any demonstrators not willing to be arrested.” State police reportedly did not make any arrests.

Students had occupied the walkway for several days. On Wednesday, police and fire department officials warned the protesters that the tents were in violation of city ordinances banning camping on public property and that police action was imminent. Students had described the camp as “porous” and that they had been allowing people to pass through.

Emerson officials were on scene at the time of the arrests. They said in a statement, “Of additional concern, Emerson has received credible reports that some protesters are engaging in targeted harassment and intimidation of Jewish supporters of Israel and students, staff, faculty, and neighbors seeking to pass through the alley. This type of behavior is unacceptable on our campus.” All Emerson classes were canceled Thursday.

Emerson student Adam Nuñez, who was held overnight at a police station and booked Thursday morning, described the scene to the Boston Globe: “I was pulled by my collar, pinned to a table, thrown to the floor, then dragged into the” state transportation building. Describing the scene as “chaos,” he added, “It’s stressful. But we know what we did, and we know that we’re on the right side of history.”

One supporter of the Emerson camp said, “They wanted us the hell out. The police officers had helmets, shields, clubs, and they were hitting people. People were on the ground and in chokeholds.”

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, a Democrat, commented that “Boston is a city where upholding the right to protest is very important us,” but defended the assault on protesters saying, “Public access to this right of way was not accessible.” It appears that ordinances originally intended to target homeless people pitching tents are now being utilized against students’ democratic right to protest.

Socialist Equality Party vice presidential candidate Jerry White denounces police rampage in Austin, Texas

In response to a large demonstration at the University of Texas, Austin, far-right Governor Greg Abbott mobilized state troopers on horseback to crush the protest. In a Twitter/X post from his official social media account, Abbott declared:

Arrests being made right now & will continue until the crowd disperse. These protesters belong in jail ... Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled.

Student demonstrators refused to be intimidated by Abbott and his police thugs, chanting, “You will not scare us” at the heavily armed police. 

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University officials later confirmed to ABC News that at least 20 people had been arrested.

Jerry White, the vice presidential candidate of the Socialist Equality Party, provided live coverage and commentary on the student protests and issued a call for workers to come to the defense of the students.

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White said the police attacks, ordered by Abbott, were part of the effort to “criminalize all anti-genocide protests.” These attacks, White explained, “are being fully backed by the Biden administration, working with the most right-wing Republicans.”

He added that the “right to protest is a fundamental right, and the working class must defend the rights of students at the University of Texas and elsewhere.”

After the police rampage, faculty at University of Texas at Austin released a statement condemning the state assault on protesters and pledging to strike on Thursday.

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“I think that the real antisemitism is conflating the Israeli state with Jews,” Columbia faculty member tells WSWS

After Columbia University threatened to deploy the National Guard against student protesters yesterday, the university administration “extended” an ultimatum to the protesters by another 48 hours. In an openly fascist provocation on Wednesday, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson visited the Columbia University campus. Johnson, a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump, has echoed President Joe Biden’s smear of the student protesters as “antisemites.” Johnson was met with overwhelming hostility by the students.

The Gaza solidarity encampment on the campus of Columbia University, April 23, 2024.

On the same day, fascist Gavin McInnes was allowed access to Columbia’s campus. McInnes is the founder of the far-right “Proud Boys” organization, which was centrally involved in the January 6, 2021 attempted coup d’etat in Washington D.C. According to student organizations involved in the Columbia encampment, while on campus, McInnes harassed pro-Palestinian students, hurling derogatory slurs at the protesting youth. This is not the first time the Proud Boys and other fascist dregs have been deployed to harass and attack left-wing student and youth protesters.

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WSWS reporters spoke with a faculty member at Columbia University in front of the student protest encampment on campus on Wednesday. The faculty member said much of the faculty was “inspired by the students and organizers here who are leading this effort. I think it’s very brave of them, especially knowing the history of student protest in this country.”

The faculty member continued:

Genocide is happening in Palestine. I think that the real antisemitism is conflating the Israeli state with Jews. And I think that everyone inside this encampment will tell you that. There are plenty of Jewish comrades inside the encampment who would say the same thing and that are leading these efforts and are publishing press about this that are absolutely wonderful. This is not an antisemitism issue, this is a genocide issue and it’s not a hard thing to be on the right side of generally speaking, philosophically, but to take this risk, I think, is very important.

Asked by a WSWS reporter if students should be reaching out to the working class for support, the faculty member replied:

I agree. I think that this is a labor issue, this is a class issue. And I think that anyone in the United States who is not part of the ruling class needs to be concerned about this. And the ruling class frankly should be concerned too, and they are. And that’s why you see the reaction that you see.

Of course, we’re all worried about an overreaction such as we saw at Kent State. There’s a history of violent reactions and surveillance and suppression and criminalization of people who engage in organizing. So, we know that that’s a risk here, but the reason that that is, is because this poses the threat to the ruling class’s stranglehold on the way that everybody has to live. So, this is absolutely is an issue that transcends all those matters that we care about.

Asked to comment on the Democratic Party joining with the far right to crack down on students, they replied:

The great unifier between the two parties is class and socioeconomic status and power. People in the ruling class find their niche, wherever they can fit it, wherever they can get elected, whatever they have to say to maintain power, but really the great unifier is holding onto that power. So, something like this, that threatens it, I think really does, in a very stark way, unify both Democrats and Republicans around those issues even though we are told that that shouldn’t happen.

At The New School in Lower Manhattan, protests were also ongoing Wednesday.

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United Parcel Service (UPS) workers in New York expressed their opposition to the attacks on student protesters and the genocide in Gaza. One “inside” shift worker at the UPS 43rd Street facility in Manhattan said:

The attacks on these students is not right. Why should you be arrested for demonstrating on your own campus? What is going on is wrong. Students shouldn’t be arrested for protesting at all.

Another worker at the facility declared:

They are protesting! You should be able to say what you want, whatever it is. I know this is controversial, but it is over killing more than 30,000 people. They have a right to protest. What are things coming to?

At New York University, the Stern Business School’s Gould Plaza has been walled off, with NYPD stationed across the street. The library entrance is now also guarded by NYPD and campus security.

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A couple of hundred students, along with some faculty, protested in front of NYU President Linda Mill’s multimillion-dollar residence. An NYU faculty member told the WSWS:

The most important reason we’re out here is to protest against the genocide that is taking place in Gaza. But it’s also because [the administration] called in the riot police on a totally peaceful protest and arrested over 120 students and faculty members.

She continued:

They always use the language of safety. Then they say it’s because it’s “antisemitic” and it’s “protection” for the Jewish students. That is really problematic for a range of reasons. First of all, there is nothing antisemitic about criticizing the state of Israel. It is a country. Even Zionism is a political ideology that has been around for less than 200 years. The Jewish religion is a couple thousand years old.

What is, in fact, antisemitic is to lump all Jews together and assume that they all believe the same thing. There are a lot of anti-Zionist Jews who are criticizing Israel and would like to see social justice and a free Palestine, but they always hide behind the rhetoric of antisemitism. They conflate the two, antisemitism and anti-Zionism. And they are completely separate things. There were a lot of Jewish students at the protest Monday. There was a Passover Seder. The language of safety is completely false. If you want to keep your students safe, you don’t call the riot police.

Asked to comment on the threat to call in the National Guard on student protesters, she replied:

There’s no need for the National Guard to come to stop students from shouting for Palestinian liberation. And of course, some of us who are old enough or have seen it, the last time the National Guard was called in to stop student protests, we saw what happened at Kent State. I don’t know that they’ve been called in since, but it’s really obscene.

Asked about the bipartisan support for war and genocide and the attacks on students, she responded:

Well, I mean, the Democrats aren’t that different from the Republicans, for one thing. I think a lot of people know that. Mayor Adams, the NYPD—the NYPD has trained with the IOF, Israel Occupation Forces, and the political machine is in bed with war manufacturers, the manufacturers of surveillance equipment. I’m not an expert on surveillance systems, but from what I’ve read, Israel is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of surveillance systems, practiced on Palestinians, and they sometimes actually advertise it that way.

Student protests against Gaza genocide, police repression, expand to Italy, France

Student protests are beginning to spread to Europe. After initial protests in Italy yesterday, students at the SciencesPo Paris took to the streets to demonstrate against the genocide and the police crackdown on students in the United States. In France, the Macron government, much like the Biden administration, has moved to implement a police state crackdown on protesters against the Gaza genocide.

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LAPD conducts mass arrest at University of Southern California campus 

At the University of Southern California (USC), where the speech of the valedictorian was censored last week for her pro-Palestinian views, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has launched a violent crackdown on a solidarity encampment. Protests by students are continuing despite the attack.

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After surrounding Alumni Park in the early evening, campus police issued a dispersal order, followed by a warning that the Los Angeles Police Department would begin carrying out mass arrests. As of this writing, at least 50 arrests have been made.