DC students, faculty launch combined pro-Palestine protest at GWU

DC students, faculty launch combined pro-Palestine protest at GWU

Students and faculty from colleges and universities around the D.C. area launched a combined demonstration at the George Washington University (GWU) campus early Thursday, continuing national protests against the Biden administration’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Hundreds of protesters, including some university faculty, have erected tents at the center of GWU’s campus. The encampment — about a half-mile from the White House — follows a similar strategy to Columbia University protests, which sparked a national movement and have beckoned the political spotlight.

In addition to urging the Biden administration against arms sales to Israel and to support a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, protest organizers have also demanded GWU and other universities stop investment in weapons manufacturers and companies that may profit from the conflict.

The coalition of students and faculty includes representation from Georgetown University; American University; George Mason University; the University of Maryland; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Howard University; and Gallaudet University, organizers said in a social media post.

“As our people discover mass graves of our martyrs in Gaza, it is our moral imperative to disrupt business as usual for an end to institutional cooperation in genocide,” organizers wrote, referring to the discovery of multiple mass graves at Gaza hospitals this week.

GWU administrators said Thursday that the demonstration is peaceful but called on protesters to move to other parts of the campus. Administrators added that non-GWU students were not allowed on campus for demonstrations, and that the protest must stop by 7 p.m.

“At 7 p.m., the students will be required to remove tents and disperse,” the university said, citing a policy forbidding overnight encampments on campus.

About 30 Georgetown faculty members joined a march of more than 100 students to the GWU protest on Thursday morning, The GW Hatchet reported.

Protesters prepared tents and sleeping bags, setting up a conflict with university administrators and D.C. police over the 7 p.m. deadline to disperse.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), a GWU alumnus, denounced the protests Thursday.

“Alumni will never allow that to happen,” he said of the demands for the university to divest from Israeli interests.

Moskowitz is among the members of Congress who have criticized the national student protest movement as antisemitic. He joined a group of Jewish Democrats at Columbia University on Monday.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) visited Columbia on Wednesday and similarly criticized the protests.

“What we are seeing on these college campuses across the country is disgusting and unacceptable, and every leader in this country, every political official, every citizen of good conscience has to speak out and say that, ‘This is not who we are in America,'” Johnson said in a Fox News appearance before his Columbia visit.

He added there must be “accountability, and that is what my colleagues and I will be working on.”

Hundreds of students have been arrested at protests nationwide in recent days, including more than 100 at Columbia University, more than 100 at Emerson University, more than 50 at the University of Texas at Austin, more than 40 at Yale University and dozens more at the University of Southern California.

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