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Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

Police in Washington, D.C. cleared a Pro-Palestinian tent encampment at George Washington University early Wednesday morning after protesters were given multiple warnings to leave. University officials had warned students participating in the protest activities that they could face possible suspensions.

During the clearance, some protesters were pepper-sprayed by police as they tried to enter the encampment, leading to nearly 30 arrests. Despite this, protesters marched to President Ellen Granberg’s home with signs reading “Free Palestine” and “Hands off Rafah,” although no arrests were made at her residence.

As a result of the protest, Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith are scheduled to testify about the District’s handling of the situation at a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing. The University of Chicago also cleared a pro-Palestinian tent encampment on its campus, with University President Paul Alivisatos stating that dissenting voices are allowed but disruptions to campus life cannot be tolerated.

Tensions between protesters and universities are high across the U.S., with over 2,600 people arrested on 50 campuses since April 18. Some universities, such as Wesleyan University and Rhode Island School of Design, are allowing protests to continue on their campuses in support of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

Campuses are utilizing a range of tactics from appeasement to threats of disciplinary action to handle the ongoing protests. The situation remains fluid as both students and university officials navigate the delicate balance between allowing for protests and maintaining campus order. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.

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