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Over 130 arrested at pro-Palestinian protest at UMass

More than 130 protesters were detained on the UMass Amherst campus Tuesday night for allegedly refusing to dismantle a pro-Palestinian camp, police said.

Despite orders from the authorities, the protesters refused to dismantle what the university considered an “unauthorized, fortified camp”. Police in riot gear surrounded barricaded tents set up by students earlier in the day and began making arrests around 8:00 p.m.

As of Wednesday morning, 109 people had been formally enrolled, with approximately 25 others facing charges, according to school officials.

UMass Chancellor Javier Reyes spoke to the campus community after the arrests, expressing disappointment that protesters rejected opportunities for resolution through civil discourse. He bemoaned the necessity of resorting to arrest despite attempts at dialogue.

Following a communication from Chancellor Javier Reyes emphasizing the numerous avenues available to resolve the encampment peacefully, arrests were made. These avenues included dialogues between Reyes and protest representatives, as well as a message conveyed by the UMass Demonstration Response and Safety Team.

Stephen Karam, chairman of the UMass board of trustees, issued a statement expressing the board’s unequivocal backing for Chancellor Javier Reyes. “We have complete confidence in his leadership, integrity, and dedication to our students,” Karam affirmed.

In an earlier communication, Reyes conveyed disappointment that demonstrators declined opportunities for continued civil discourse to reconcile differences and refused to dismantle their encampment. Despite warnings that failure to remove the tents and barriers could lead to arrests, this outcome was not the desired result.

Meanwhile, MIT students were told by President Sally Kornbluth earlier this week that their camp was no longer considered safe and could lead to disciplinary action, including suspension.

Similar pro-Palestinian protest camps have sprung up across the country, with some advocating severing academic ties to Israel in light of the Gaza conflict.


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