12 Arrested at University of New Hampshire During Pro-Palestine Protest

Twelve individuals, including 10 students, were arrested at the University of New Hampshire during a pro-Palestine protest for disorderly conduct and trespassing. The arrests occurred after protesters attempted to set up an encampment on campus, despite the university's permit prohibiting tents.

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Nimrah Khatoon
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12 Arrested at University of New Hampshire DuringPro-Palestine Protest

12 Arrested at University of New Hampshire DuringPro-Palestine Protest

A pro-Palestine protest at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) on Wednesday evening resulted in the arrest of 12 individuals, including 10 students, who were charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. The arrests took place after protesters attempted to set up an encampment on campus, despite the university's permit explicitly barring tents.

The protest, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Coalition and other organizations, was held on International Workers' Day as a show of solidarity with Palestinians following Israel's recent military response to a deadly attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023. The peaceful demonstration began at 5 pm and lasted until around 6:30 pm when the situation escalated.

UNH Police Chief Paul Dean stated that the majority of the protesters were not affiliated with the university when they attempted to set up tents and barricade them. "We're sorry this had to happen. We're sorry this was made to happen. But we needed to clear this out, we're not gonna have an encampment in a public space and it's simply not going to happen," Dean said.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the challenges universities face in balancing free speech with maintaining public order, particularly when it comes to contentious political issues. The incident highlights the challenges universities face in balancing free speech with maintaining public order, particularly when it comes to contentious political issues. As tensions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to escalate, universities will need to address these complex issues to ensure the safety and well-being of their communities.

The arrested protesters were taken to the Strafford County jail in Dover. UNH spokesperson emphasized that while the university will always protect free speech on campus, it would not allow it to be "co-opted by a small group of protesters, including outside agitators." She also noted that over the past six months, students supporting Palestine have peacefully protested on campus at least seven times.

The arrests at UNH were not an isolated incident, as similar pro-Palestinian protests at Dartmouth College in Hanover also led to multiple arrests on the same evening. The New Hampshire State Police released a statement saying they deployed personnel and resources to both campuses in response to illegal activity and at the request of local law enforcement.

The events at UNH and Dartmouth College raise important questions about the balance between protecting free speech and maintaining public order on university campuses. As tensions continue to escalate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, universities face the challenge of addressing the complex issue of student activism and the right to peaceful assembly while ensuring the safety and well-being of their communities.

Key Takeaways

  • 12 individuals, including 10 UNH students, arrested at pro-Palestine protest.
  • Charges include disorderly conduct and trespassing for setting up tents despite permit ban.
  • The arrested protesters were taken to the Strafford County jail in Dover.
  • UNH police and administration emphasize need to balance free speech with public order.
  • ACLU of NH condemns police actions, citing excessive force and infringement on free speech.