University of Minnesota Police Arrest 9 in Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

University of Minnesota police arrest 9 protesters who set up pro-Palestinian encampment on campus, highlighting ongoing tensions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on college campuses.

Muthana Al-Najjar
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University of Minnesota Police Arrest 9 in Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

University of Minnesota Police Arrest 9 in Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest. Photo credit: FOX 9

The University of Minnesota police arrested nine people on Tuesday after they refused to leave an encampment set up on campus by the 'University of Minnesota Divest Coalition' in support of the people of Gaza and Palestine. The group, which includes multiple undergraduate and graduate student organizations, set up tents at 4 a.m. in front of Walter Library to protest the university's investments in military manufacturers that do business with Israel.

Officers responded after receiving reports that protesters had created an encampment on the north end of Northrup Mall, which the university says is a direct violation of its policy. "The university states that it supports and respects free speech through lawful protest, but tents and encampments are not allowed on any university property without a permit," according to a university statement.

The group was asked to disperse by 7 a.m. and told they would be arrested if they chose to stay past that time. Some protesters left, but nine remained and were arrested without incident on misdemeanor trespass charges. The university removed the tents after the arrests.

Why this matters: The protest at the University of Minnesota comes at a time when students at campuses across the country are holding similar demonstrations, and the U.S. Department of Education has reported a rise in complaints of both antisemitism and Islamophobia since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in Israel and the Israeli strikes in Gaza. The arrests highlight the ongoing tensions and debates surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on college campuses.

The university maintains that while it supports freedom of expression through lawful protest, the encampment violated state law and university policy prohibiting setting up tents without a permit. The nine individuals arrested were charged with trespassing and the tents have been removed from the Northrup Mall area.

Key Takeaways

  • U of Minnesota police arrested 9 protesters for setting up encampment without permit
  • Protesters were part of U of Minnesota Divest Coalition supporting Palestinians
  • University says encampment violated policy, but supports free speech through lawful protest
  • Protest comes amid rise in campus complaints of antisemitism and Islamophobia
  • Arrested protesters charged with trespassing, tents removed from campus