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Police disband Gaza protest camp at George Washington University

Police in Washington, DC, broke up a student protest camp at George Washington University, one of several tent camps set up on campuses across the country in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it had “moved to disperse” the protesters on Wednesday morning due to the “gradual escalation in the volatility of the protest”, without giving further details.

Arrests were made during the operation for Assault on a Police Officer and Trespassing, although the exact number was not released by the department.

Citing an unnamed police source, CNN reported that approximately 30 to 40 people had been arrested.

The Gaza encampment at George Washington University is one of many similar sites set up around the world since late April to protest Israel’s actions in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Students in the US, Canada, UK, France and elsewhere are demanding an end to the Israeli military offensive that has claimed nearly 35,000 Palestinian lives since early October.

Among other demands, they also call on their universities to divest from companies involved in human rights abuses in Israel.

The arrests at George Washington University reflect a broader trend of police crackdowns on college campuses across the US, including Columbia University, the University of Chicago and UCLA.

University administrators accused the pro-Palestinian protesters of using anti-Semitic language and creating an unsafe campus environment.

But the students refute the claims, saying they are meant to divert attention from the situation in Gaza.

Mariam, a protesting Jewish student at George Washington University, told Al Jazeera last week: “It’s meant to distract from the genocide in Gaza and distract from our demands.

US politicians, including President Joe Biden, a staunch supporter of Israel, have condemned the camps in Gaza.

Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the response to the George Washington University camp.

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Pamela Smith are expected to speak at the hearing.


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