Apr 23, 2024, 4:45 PM

US intensifies crackdown on pro-Gaza protests in universities

US intensifies crackdown on pro-Gaza protests in universities

TEHRAN, Apr. 23 (MNA) – American universities are witnessing crackdown amid a surge in tensions between pro-Palestinian student protesters and school administrators, resulting in the cancellation of in-person classes.

The drive comes in as administrations of the world institutions succumb to the pressure from pro-Israeli groups and far right politicians, as student protests continue around the United States.

The demonstrations, which started a week ago at Columbia University with a sizable crowd of protesters setting up a "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" on campus, have now expanded to various other universities such as Yale, MIT, and more.

Harvard University suspended its Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee on Monday following a period of administrative repression, harassment, and intimidation by conservative politicians and donors.

The committee was ordered to halt all organizational activities for the remainder of the term, or face permanent expulsion, following an unregistered demonstration they held last week.

Mimi Elias, a social work student who was arrested, told AFP on Monday: "We are going to stay until they talk to us and listen to our demands."

"We don't want Antisemitism or Islamophobia. We are here for the liberation of all," Elias said.

Classes transitioned to an online format at the Columbia University, as university president Nemat Shafik emphasized the need for a "reset" in a letter addressed to the school community, after complaints from some Zionist students against protests that are urging the institution to stay away from companies with ties to Israel.

"To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday," Shafik said.

The previous week also saw over 100 demonstrators being detained at the Columbia University, following the intervention of law enforcement by university officials on the private grounds on Thursday, a decision that appeared to heighten tensions and lead to a larger gathering during the weekend.

According to Joseph Howley, a classics associate professor at Columbia University, the involvement of the police was an erroneous approach, as it inadvertently drew in "more radical elements" that were not originally associated with student protests.

"You can't discipline and punish your way out of prejudice and community disagreement," Howley told AFP.

MNA/Press TV

News ID 214286


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