University of Virginia: Another 25 agitators arrested while clearing encampments - Hindustan Times
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University of Virginia: Another 25 agitators arrested while clearing encampments

May 05, 2024 08:02 AM IST

University of Virginia police disperse protesters after declaring ‘unlawful assembly’

Reportedly, 25 anti-Israel protestors were arrested, and their encampment was cleared up at Saturday's University of Virginia campus by the authorities.

Police lift a pro-Palestinian demonstrator from the ground on the University of Virginia campus, in Charlottesville, Va., where tents are set up, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Cal Cary/The Daily Progress via AP)(AP)
Police lift a pro-Palestinian demonstrator from the ground on the University of Virginia campus, in Charlottesville, Va., where tents are set up, Saturday, May 4, 2024. (Cal Cary/The Daily Progress via AP)(AP)

The University Police Department (UPD) issued a declaration of an “unlawful assembly” earlier in the day, with UVA Police Chief Tim Longo providing a group of anti-Israel demonstrators near the University Chapel in Charlottesville a 10-minute window to disperse.

Efforts to remove tents at 8:15 a.m. were met with resistance, with the school citing “agitation and chanting” from protesters.

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According to the university's news release: “Authorities were again met with agitation, chanting and violent gestures such as swinging of objects.”

“Beginning at around 2:30 p.m., UPD gave the crowd three verbal warnings that an unlawful assembly would be declared if demonstrators refused to leave the area.”

Virginia State Police were summoned to assist local authorities, and by 4 p.m., the scene was deemed “stable.”

ALSO READ| University of Utah: Riot police clamps down on pro-Palestinian protesters; ‘disturbing’ footage emerges

UVS President addresses campus safety concerns

UVA President Jim Ryan addressed the situation in a message to students and staff, stating, “Unfortunately, a small group today made a choice to willingly break the rules after being given many opportunities to comply, and they then refused to leave the site voluntarily.”

“I sincerely wish it were otherwise, but this repeated and intentional refusal to comply with reasonable rules intended to secure the safety, operations, and rights of the entire university community left us with no other choice than to uphold the neutral application and enforcement of those rules,” Ryan expressed.

At least 25 individuals were taken into custody on suspicion of trespassing and transported to the Albemarle County Regional Jail. University officials awaited confirmation on the affiliation of those arrested with the school.

ALSO READ| Over 1500 protesters arrested across 30 US campuses in just a month. Here are 10 points where things stand now

In response to the events, a group named UVA Encampment for Gaza shared video footage of clashes between protesters and police online, saying, “UVA SENT IN MILITARIZED POLICE WITH RIOT GEAR AND VIRGINIA STATE TROOPERS TO DEPLOY PEPPER SPRAY AND TEAR GAS ON STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS PROTESTING GENOCIDE.”

“UVA, YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR THIS. SHAME ON JIM RYAN. UPD, KKK, IOF, THEY’RE ALL THE SAME,” the post read further.

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