Severe repression on students in US universities protesting against Israel’s genocidal war

In university campuses across the US, there is a rising wave of protests by students. Students of many universities across the US have been holding protest demonstrations, sit-ins and other forms of protest actions over the past 6 months. They have been raising their voices against the incessant genocidal war being waged by Israel, against the Palestinian people, since October 7 last year.

students-in-US-universities-protesting-against-IsraelStudents and faculty at the universities have been organising discussions on the crimes committed by the state of Israel, fully backed by US imperialism and its allies, against the Palestinian people, ever since its creation 75 years ago.

The protesting students have been calling upon the people to boycott goods produced by US multinational companies that are doing business with Israel and the Israeli Defence Forces. They are raising their voices against the inhuman crimes of Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and other territories of the Palestinian people that it has illegally occupied. They are demanding immediate ceasefire and restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. They are condemning the stand of the US government, which continues to give billions of dollars of military aid, together with the most advanced and deadly military technology, to Israel and continues to politically defend and justify Israel’s genocidal war in the UN and all international platforms.

students-in-US-universities-protesting-against-IsraelStudents have set up encampments and have been holding regular sit-in protests in the campuses of California State Polytechnic University, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University, New York University, Yale University, Harvard, MIT, Princeton University, Brown University, Boston University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio State University, Washington University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, George Washington University, University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, University of Southern California, Emory University in Georgia, Emerson College in Boston, and many others.

On April 24, the authorities of Columbia University New York called in the New York Police Department (NYPD) to clear protesters from campus. 108 student protestors were arrested. This triggered off a series of intense demonstrations across universities in New York City and nationwide.

students-in-US-universities-protesting-against-IsraelOn April 25, hundreds of students from the US capital Washington DC gathered in a protest demonstration at George Washington University, even as the protests intensified in university campuses throughout US. In Columbia University New York, student protestors vowed to continue the protests, in defiance of the authorities’ orders to clear the protest site. Jewish students have joined the protests, denouncing the US state’s continued support for Israel’s genocidal war, with the slogan “Not in our name!”

The university authorities have responded to the protests with brute force. Hundreds of students and faculty members have been arrested by the police and detained. In many cases, the police used tear gas and tasers on the protestors, before arresting them. Several protesting students and faculty members have been suspended for participating in and supporting the protests. There is heavy police deployment and surveillance in all the university campuses and an atmosphere of terror has been created.

The biggest rally took place on April 24, at University of Texas at Austin, where hundreds of students staged a walkout and marched to the campus’s main lawn, where they planned to set up an encampment. But the university authorities called in local and state police to attack the protestors. Hundreds of police arrived at the scene, some on horseback. Holding batons, they charged at the crowds and forcefully arrested several students. At least 34 students were taken into custody, according to news reports.

The university authorities have levelled charges such as “harassment”, “blockade”, “intimidation”, “trespassing”, “anti-Semitism”, etc. in order to justify the attacks on the students. They have prevented people from entering the university campuses to show solidarity with the protestors. They have ordered the encampments to be removed forthwith. The students have denied all charges of “anti-Semitism” and “intimidation”. They have asserted that their protests have been entirely peaceful.

The repression on the students has in fact given rise to even greater anger among the people, against the blatant support by the US administration for Israel’s genocidal war. The arrests, beatings, forcible evictions and suspensions of the protestors have been roundly criticised by people. Faculty members of the universities have come out in protest, with placards and slogans saying “Hands off our students!” and “End students’ suspensions now!”

The protests have completely exposed the US state, which acts as the “greatest defender of human rights” in the world, but which is openly and brazenly defending and abetting genocide of the Palestinian people, while brutally crushing its own people’s right to protest.

Meanwhile, in the university campuses, students and faculty are determined to fight back against these unjust attacks on their right to protest. They are working on various ways to continue and intensify the protests.

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