Cal Poly Humboldt Campus Shut Down After Pro-Palestine Protesters Clash With Riot Police

Courtesy of YouTube
Courtesy of YouTube

The campus of Cal Poly Humboldt, a public university in Arcata, California, has been shut down after a group of pro-Palestine protesters occupied a campus building and clashed with riot police late Monday.

Hundreds of students had gathered outside of Siemens Hall on Monday afternoon as part of a larger protest against Israel’s brutal military campaign in Gaza. Several protesters entered the administrative building, which houses the office of Academic Personnel Resources and Human Resources, and attempted to create a barricade, blocking doors with furniture, and setting up tents.

Around 8 p.m. there was a tense encounter between police and protesters. As police armed with shields, batons, and helmets walked into the building, protesters pushed back. One protester used a large plastic water bottle to beat a police officer’s helmet. The protesters were ultimately able to push the police back, and out the door of the building.

At 11:30 p.m., members of law enforcement backed down, and left the scene at Siemens Hall, according to the Lost Coast Outpost. After the police left, a small group went to the Humboldt County Courthouse to wait for students who had been arrested. Campus police have yet to confirm any arrests. As of Tuesday morning, protesters still remained inside of the building.

In an Instagram post from the group Humboldt For Palestine, the group declared they’d taken over the building “in solidarity with students across the nation occupying campuses for Palestine.” The group called for an academic boycott of Israeli universities, and for Cal Poly to divest from all ties to Israel.

The university announced that it’s campus was closed through Wednesday, describing the protest as a “dangerous and volatile situation” in a statement.

“The University is deeply concerned about the safety of the protestors who have barricaded themselves inside the building. The University is urgently asking that the protestors listen to directives from law enforcement that have responded and to peacefully leave the building,” the statement said.

Students have been advised to stay away from campus, and classes will transition to remote.

This is one of many protests which have broken out across the country, following the establishment of a pro-Palestine encampment at Columbia University, which then sparked similar actions at NYU, Yale, and UC Berkley.

In November, Cal Poly Humboldt came under fire after it ordered students who had been sleeping in their cars to leave campus.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to clarify that this was not the first protest at a public university.

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