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Dozens detained in the US as student protests over Gaza spread across the country | US News

Chaos gripped college campuses across the United States as pro-Palestinian student protests spread to universities across the country.

A movement that started at Columbia University on the east coast now it has spread to the north, south and west.

At the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, at least 93 people were arrested during a volatile three-hour standoff between protesters and police.

A protester is arrested at the University of Southern California.  Photo: AP
A protester is arrested at the University of Southern California. Photo: AP

Police officers responded with force.  Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

A young woman, wearing an Arab scarf, threw a bottle of water at the officers and was thrown to the ground before being handcuffed and taken to a waiting police van.

Others, who had formed a protest circle after police issued a dispersal order, were handcuffed one by one and led off campus by Los Angeles police officers.

Dozens of people were arrested by the police
Dozens of people were arrested by the police

The day had started relatively peacefully as hundreds of students gathered on the main campus lawn.

Police intervened to remove several tents that had been erected, but the space was soon filled by people holding signs calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

When classes ended for the day, police issued a dispersal order and told protesters over a loudspeaker that they had 10 minutes to clear the area or they would be arrested.

A group of at least 50 students remained, linking arms and chanting “Free, Free Palestine.” Some used a black marker to scribble on their arms the number of a helpline to call from prison.

Students protesting at the University of Southern California.  Reuters Photo
Police officers responded with force. Reuters Photo

“Are you afraid of being arrested?” I asked a young woman. “No,” she replied. “I think the children of Gaza are more afraid than I am.”

I asked another why she feels so passionate about taking a stand on a war that is raging more than seven thousand miles away. “We know we’re on the right side right now,” she said, “and if we’re not going to do this, then who is?”

Los Angeles police said about 93 people were arrested

Students here say they have two main goals. They demand that their university cut all financial ties with Israel and that their country stop sending them weapons.

Amid the peaceful chants are potentially incendiary songs about the State of Israel.

Campus protests have intensified in recent days

I asked a young man if he is concerned that Jewish students might feel threatened and isolated on their own campus.

“None of the chants or anything we have said is inherently anti-Semitic,” he said, “nor is the call for the liberation of Palestine inherently anti-Semitic.”

Read more:
More than 100 arrested as campus protests spread

Demonstrations are expected to continue across the United States.
Demonstrations are expected to continue across the United States.

As night fell, police concluded that the best way to end today’s standoff was with more force.

My team watched as an officer pushed a young man to the ground and another woman was pushed back with a police baton.

They may have ended the protests today, but there is a good chance they will break out again in the coming days.

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