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Dozens arrested at NYU as pro-Palestinian encampments spread across city and beyond

Student activists occupy a protest encampment in support of Palestine inside the New School on April 21, 2024 in New York City. Activists at the New School are acting in solidarity with Columbia University students who have occupied a lawn on their campus in support of Palestine for the past 5 days.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Student activists occupy a protest encampment in support of Palestine inside the New School on Sunday. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
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Dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University on Monday night as tensions over the Israel-Hamas war continued to simmer on U.S. campuses.

Students and faculty protesting the war set up an encampment on NYU’s Gould Plaza on W. Fourth St. near Mercer St.

The university tweeted a warning that if everyone left by 4 p.m., no arrests would be made. Around 8:35 p.m., dozens of police officers in riot gear went on campus and started detaining protesters. As cops took down tents, some demonstrators were seen throwing objects at the officers. Cops used pepper spray as some protesters attempted to block buses taking away those arrested.

NYU blamed non-student demonstrators for escalating the situation.

“Early this afternoon, additional protesters, many of whom we believe were not affiliated with NYU, suddenly breached the barriers that had been put in place … and joined the others already on the plaza,” university spokesman John Beckman said in a statement.

“This development dramatically changed the situation,” he continued. “We witnessed disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing behavior that has interfered with the safety and security of our community, and that demonstrated how quickly a demonstration can get out of control or people can get hurt.

“Many refused to leave,” the spokesman added. “We also learned that there were intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported. Given the foregoing and the safety issues raised by the breach, we asked for assistance from the NYPD.”

Earlier Monday, cops protesting the war in Gaza, days after a similar action at Columbia University led to the arrests of more than 100 protesters.

, the central area on the school’s New Haven campus. Demonstrators called on the university administration to divest from Israel. Administrators had said the students could stay through the weekend but would be evicted Monday.

When protesters refused to leave Monday morning, cops moved in. New Haven police said they and released all of them with summonses to appear in court. The protesters were all charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

“With no warning of when they would come, police ambushed us at 6:40 a.m. while students at the encampment were sleeping,” Occupy Beinecke, a student-led group, posted on Instagram.

“Yale, you have intimidated us, criminalized us, militarized our campus, and failed to accept our demands,” the students continued. “We will not stop, we will not rest until we have disclosure and divestment.”

A spokeswoman for Yale did not immediately return a request for comment.

In New York City, students set up an encampment at The New School, along with Columbia and NYU.

Messages emblazoned on signs and tents at NYU included “Deoccupy,” “Free Palestine” and “Jews for Anarchy.”

NYU students set up an encampment in front of the Stern School of Business Monday, protesting the school's investments in Israel. (Evan Simko-Bednarski for Daily News)
Evan Simko-Bednarski for Daily News
NYU students set up an encampment in front of the Stern School of Business Monday, protesting the school’s investments in Israel. (Evan Simko-Bednarski for Daily News)

“Heeding the call from our comrades at Columbia, NYU students have brought the Gaza Solidarity Encampment to our campus,” the coalition said. “We amplify the call for Palestinian liberation and the divestment of our universities from the Zionist project.”

Like the Columbia demonstration, NYU students are calling on the university to divest from Israel and reverse all student and faculty disciplinary measures related to pro-Palestinian activism. Their demands include an end the institution’s partnership with Tel Aviv University and the shutdown of its Tel Aviv campus.

A rep for NYU said the demonstration began without notice to officials.

“We are addressing this issue with urgency,” John Beckman said earlier Monday.

“Access to the plaza has been closed,” he added. “Classes are carrying on. The university is committed to minimizing disruption to its academic mission; preventing escalation and violence, and precluding hate speech, harassment or threats directed at any member of the NYU community.”

NYU students set up an encampment in front of the Stern School of Business Monday, protesting the school's investments in Israel.
Evan Simko-Bednarski for Daily News
Pro-Palestinian NYU students and supporters protest outside the Stern School of Business Monday. (Evan Simko-Bednarski for Daily News)

A half mile away, about a dozen students at The New School erected a green-white-and-blue encampment Sunday, writing on the tents with red marker: “Liberated Zone,” “Free Palestine” and “Divest From Death.”

The demo came after the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine was put on probation last Friday through the next school year, prohibiting the student group from hosting public events or using school resources, the group wrote on social media.

“We will remain until ALL our demands are met,” the student group said.

Student activists and their allies protest in front of the New School in support of an encampment for pro-Palestinian protesters on April 21, 2024 in New York City. Activists are acting in solidarity with Columbia University students who have occupied a lawn on their campus in support of Palestine for the past 5 days.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Student activists and their allies protest in front of the New School in support of an encampment for pro-Palestinian protesters Sunday. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

In a to students Sunday, The New School said the demonstration was unauthorized, but college officials were in communication with protesters to “resolve the situation.”

“Because of the successful dialogue between the president and the students, there will be no charges for the demonstration,” the memo stated.

Students protesters were set to meet Monday with a college operations official to discuss divestment from Israel and were eyeing a meeting with the board of trustees’ investment committee to push for greater transparency. The New School said it would also launch an investment advisory committee with elected student representatives.

“During this especially charged time in our society,” the school’s email continued, “the university is strongly committed to supporting the rights of members of our community to peacefully protest and express themselves, and to do so in accordance with the university’s codes of conduct.”

In Boston, administrators at Harvard beat students to the spot and closed Harvard Yard ahead of anticipated pro-Palestinian protests, while classes continued as usual.

“Structures, including tents and tables, are not permitted in the Yard without prior permission,” read a sign on a gate, which was photographed by The Harvard Crimson.

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