US police have arrested over 2,500 anti-war protesters in less than 3 weeks

Less than three weeks after 108 students were arrested at Columbia University for establishing the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” over 2,500 people in the United States have been arrested and criminally charged for participating in similar acts of civil disobedience.

Pro-Palestinian protesters chant at University of Chicago police while being kept from the university quad on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. [AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast]

In many cases, students and faculty have been charged with “trespassing” for sitting on the grass or occupying campus buildings, while journalists filming students getting arrested have also been imprisoned.

As this is being written, police are arresting faculty and students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The local chapter of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) reported Tuesday night that faculty had been arrested at its encampment. The report included a picture showing multiple people in orange safety vests being handcuffed.

The SJP and PSC reported that riot police had encircled the encampment, drawing jeers from a growing crowd that was chanting, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

In New York City, where Democratic Mayor Eric Adams has overseen the arrests of over 500 people, NYPD police were again recorded assaulting and conducting mass arrests of protesters Tuesday night. Over 1,000 people demonstrated in the street as part of an “All Out for Rafah” march.

Many of the protesters marched to the steps of the New York Public Library. Later in the evening, a contingent of protesters broke off and joined the Gaza encampment at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a public university and the last school in the city where an encampment remains.

As of this writing, police are preparing to sweep the encampment. Independent New York-based reporter Katie Smith documented “hundreds of officers stationed in and around” the encampment after 10:00 p.m.

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

The mass arrests across the country of mostly young people and their professors and instructors are being directed from the White House. President Joe Biden in multiple statements, including a Tuesday address at the Capitol on Holocaust Remembrance Day, continues to repeat the Big Lie that opposition to Zionist genocide of the Palestinian people is an expression of antisemitism.

Commenting on the bipartisan attack on anti-war protesters, Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president Joseph Kishore wrote:

Biden again slandered protesters as “antisemitic” and “violent,” even as he and the entire political establishment back the brutal police suppression of peaceful protests.

Kishore observed that Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, addressing the Holocaust memorial event, compared “students protesting the genocide to Nazis.”

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

“Johnson,” Kishore continued:

... outrageously compares the cultivation of Nazi ideology in German universities, encouraged by the state and ruling class, with the protests against the ongoing massacre of Palestinians, which have been met with brutal police repression.

Both Biden and Johnson declared that universities have become hostile environments for Jewish students. In fact, many of those protesting are Jewish. Jewish students have not been threatened by protesters but rather arrested and beaten by police.

The slander of anti-genocide demonstrators as “antisemitic” and “terrorist” has led to an explosion of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence and harassment. On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for the arrest and firing of a Zionist Arizona professor after video emerged showing him threatening a Muslim woman attempting to walk away from him.

Loading Tweet ...
Tweet not loading? See it directly on Twitter

In a Tuesday press release, CAIR-Arizona Executive Director Azza Abuseif wrote that Professor Jonathan Yudelman’s actions were part of “a broader pattern of Islamophobia and religious intolerance weaponized by pro-Israel, pro-genocide extremists.”

Columbia University Apartheid Divest, a coalition of over 100 student organizations, reported Tuesday that a Zionist driver intentionally drove his car into the group while they were protesting. One person was injured and sent to the hospital.

A spokesperson for the New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed to the Daily Beast that the driver of the vehicle was 57-year-old Reuven Kahane. The NYPD spokesman said Kahane is being charged with second-degree assault.

In addition to Kahane, the Daily Beast confirmed that the NYPD also arrested 55-year-old Maryellen Novak, who was hospitalized after being struck by the car, and 63-year-old John Rozendaal. Novak was charged with criminal mischief and unlawful assembly, while Rozendaal was charged only with the former. Both were designated by protest organizers as “deescalators.”

Reuven Kahane is the cousin of Meir Kahane, the founder of the terrorist organization Jewish Defense League (JDL). A JDL flag was photographed on the UCLA campus less than 48 hours before pro-genocide thugs assaulted the student encampment.

According to witnesses, Kahane observed protesters demonstrating outside the homes of wealthy Columbia and Barnard trustees and asked for a flyer from a protester, at which point he grabbed the person’s arm. After the protester pulled away, Kahane drove off but then circled back in his car. Witnesses claim he then drove onto the sidewalk and into the protesters.

Independent journalist Talia Jane, citing as of yet unreleased video of the arrest, witnessed police making “derogatory statements to the student protesters, calling them ‘f*cking morons’ and telling them ‘there’s consequences when you’re an adult.’” Meanwhile, witnesses observed police laughing and being “chummy” with Kahane.