Yale University Arrests 60 Protesters Demanding Divestment from Military Weapons Manufacturers

Pro-Palestinian protests at Yale lead to 60 arrests, sparking debate over free speech and campus safety. Protesters demand divestment from military weapons manufacturers, drawing national attention.

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Nitish Verma
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Yale University Arrests 60 Protesters Demanding Divestment from Military Weapons Manufacturers

Yale University Arrests 60 Protesters Demanding Divestment from Military Weapons Manufacturers

On Monday morning, Yale University police arrested 60 people, including 47 students, during pro-Palestinian protests demanding disclosure and divestment from military weapons manufacturers investments. The protesters had set up a 27-tent "Books not Bombs" encampment outside a Board of Trustees dinner on Friday night, occupying Beinecke Plaza and calling for military weapons divestment.

Police dispersed the protesters, with 45 people charged with first-degree criminal trespassing. Yale University stated that the arrests were made to ensure the safety and security of the entire Yale community and to allow access to university facilities. The university said the protesters were given several opportunities to leave voluntarily, but they refused.

The protest was part of the "April Action" campaign by the "Occupy Beinecke" group, which was also in solidarity with recent pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University. The protesters claimed that only one arrest warning was given and that police refused to allow arrestees to collect their belongings.

Yale President Peter Salovey justified the arrests, stating that the campus environment had become increasingly difficult and that the university would not tolerate any behavior that interrupts academic and campus operations. Salovey condemned any harmful acts or threatening language used against people near the protest sites.

Why this matters: The pro-Palestinian protests at Yale are part of a broader movement across U.S. universities following the conflict between Israel and Hamas, with students demanding their schools condemn Israel's assault on Gaza and divest from companies that sell weapons to Israel. The events have drawn national attention and sparked debates about balancing free speech and campus safety.

The arrests sparked criticism, with the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemning the arrests, while the Connecticut Republican Party called the protests "disgraceful" and demanded action from the Yale administration and the criminal justice system. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven also expressed concerns about the safety of Jewish students on the Yale campus, with the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale noting that the campus environment had crossed into open antisemitism.

Key Takeaways

  • 60 people, including 47 students, arrested at Yale pro-Palestinian protest
  • Protesters demanded disclosure, divestment from military weapons manufacturers
  • Police dispersed protesters, 45 charged with criminal trespassing
  • Protests part of "April Action" campaign, in solidarity with Columbia protests
  • Arrests sparked criticism, concerns about campus safety and antisemitism