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Numerous Arrests Made at Chaotic Pro-Hamas Encampments at Tri-State Universities

Police arrested dozens of people at pro-Palestinian demonstrations at Yale University in Connecticut and New York University in Manhattan, as student protests over Israel’s war in Gaza continue to roil US campuses.

On the Yale University campus in New Haven, Connecticut, authorities arrested at least 47 protesters on Monday evening, the university said in a statement. Students who were arrested will be referred for disciplinary action.

The police crackdowns came after Columbia University canceled in-person classes on Monday in response to protesters setting up tent encampments at its New York City campus last week.

Several hundred people had been protesting on the Yale university campus, demanding the university divest from military weapons manufacturers. Yale said it had repeatedly asked students to leave, and warned them they could face law enforcement and disciplinary action if they didn’t.

In New York, officers moved on an encampment at Gould Plaza near New York University shortly after nightfall. There, too, hundreds of demonstrators had defied university warnings that they faced consequences if they failed to vacate the plaza.

Video on social media showed police taking down tents in the protesters’ encampment in a tense and at times chaotic scene. Some officers tossed tents, and others grappled with demonstrators.

Protesters tussled with officers and chanted, “We will not stop, we will not rest. Disclose. Divest.”

A New York police spokesperson said arrests were made after the university asked police to enforce trespassing violations but the total number of arrests and citations would remain unknown until much later.

The Washington Square News, the student newspaper, reported that the NYPD said over a loudspeaker announcement that students were being arrested for “disorderly conduct” and that protesters were unlawfully blocking traffic.

The law enforcement actions at Yale and NYU came after a tense few days on campuses across the US.

Columbia University president, Nemat Minouche Shafik, called in New York police last week to clear a tent encampment on its main lawn of students demanding the university divest from companies with ties to Israel.

More than 100 students were arrested on Thursday on charges of trespassingand the university and the affiliated Barnard College have suspended dozens of students involved in the protests.

On Monday, Columbia University announced it was canceling in-person classes on its New York City campus to try to “reset” the situation and “deescalate the rancor.”

A new encampment has now emerged and hundreds of faculty members have held a mass walkout to protest against the president’s handling of the situation.

Bassam Khawaja, an adjunct lecturer at Columbia law school and supervising attorney at the school’s human rights clinic, told the Guardian she was “shocked and appalled that the president went immediately to the New York police department”.

“This was by all accounts, a non-violent protest,” she said. “It was a group of students camping out on the lawn in the middle of campus. It’s not any different from everyday life on campus.”

After the crackdown at Columbia, students across the US launched their own protests in solidarity, many of them calling for their universities to back a ceasefire in Gaza and divest from companies with ties to Israel.

Students at Brown, Princeton and Northwestern held protests on Friday and over the weekend.

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Emerson College, both in the Boston area, have started their own protest encampments.

Other institutions that saw protest actions included Boston University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.