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Campus police raid University of Chicago Palestine solidarity encampment

By Kobi Guillory

Campus police raid University of Chicago Palestine solidarity encampment.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Chicago IL – Students at the University of Chicago set up an encampment in solidarity with Gaza on Monday, April 29. After a week of threats from the university administration, the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) raided the encampment before dawn on Tuesday, May 7.

Videos circulated on social media show UCPD officers tearing down tents, throwing objects, and pushing sleep deprived students to the ground. UCPD also barred journalists and legal observers from entering the quad where the encampment was located. Some officers covered their badge numbers in an effort to escape accountability.

“They waited like cowards until the supporters had left for the night and most of the students were asleep,” an organizer with UChicago United for Palestine told protesters who gathered in solidarity the morning of the raid.

The 300 students and community members who rallied on Tuesday morning outside the U of C quad chanted “UCPD, KKK, IOF they're all the same” and “Paul, Paul, you can't hide, you're supporting genocide” in reference to U of C President Paul Alivisatos. Alivisatos is still the main target of students' demands that the university divest from Israel and all weapons manufacturers, publicly disclose its investments, and commit to a program of reparations for Palestine and the South Side of Chicago.

“President Paul Alivisatos won't even acknowledge the scholasticide that's been happening in Gaza,” a leader of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UChicago said during the rally. “Every university in Gaza has been destroyed! We will not accept our tax and tuition dollars being used to fund genocide and apartheid,” they continued.

The raid at University of Chicago marks the third student encampment to close in the Chicagoland area. Northwestern University students closed their encampment after negotiations with the administration, and students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago faced a CPD raid shortly after setting their encampment up on Saturday. The student encampment at DePaul University is still running over a week after it was set up on Tuesday, April 30.

In addition to police raids, Chicago student encampments have encountered aggression from Zionist counter-protesters and university administrations. On the other hand, the students have received plenty of community support led by organizations such as the Coalition for Justice in Palestine, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the Anti War Committee – Chicago.

“In truth, the encampment is never over,” SJP said in a social media post in response to a statement from Alivisatos titled “ending the encampment.”

The SJP statement continued, “UCPD may steal some tents, but they cannot break the bonds and steadfastness we built there.”

#ChicagoIL #IL #AntiWarMovement #International #MiddleEast #Palestine #StudentMovement #SDS #SJP #AWCChicago #CAARPR #CJP