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Tulane and Loyola SDS condemn police and administration attacks on right to protest

By staff

Protester arrested for supporting encampment

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from Tulane and Loyola SDS.

At approximately 3:00 am, when students were sleeping and supporters who had gathered to ensure their safety were resting, a militarized coalition consisting of TUPD, NOPD, and Louisiana State Police (LSP) violently disassembled the peaceful encampment. With no dispersal warning, over 100 officers put the safety of students and community members at great risk by brutally arresting 14 unarmed individuals, including 3 bystanders, using riot gear, assault rifles, and armored vehicles. Louisiana State Police specifically targeted student organizers, resulting in two injured students being taken to the hospital.

Tulane and Loyola Students for a Democratic Society condemns President Fitts and Tulane's administration for the excessive, dangerous, and violent action taken against an unarmed, student-led encampment. Tulane claims that free speech is a right, yet in practice, Tulane University would rather brutalize its own students and members of our community than listen to their demands to divest from the apartheid state of Israel.

We would like to remind President Fitts, Tulane administration, TUPD, NOPD, and LSP that though they criminalized us during our encampment, protesting is not a crime! We'd like to remind President Fitts, Tulane administration, alumni, and the larger community that students have been pushing Tulane to divest from war and apartheid since at least the 60s.

We reject the historically revisionist narrative that Tulane and its administration were unaware of our position and demands. Though the administration claims to be oblivious to our demands and organizing, Students for a Democratic Society at Tulane and Loyola have hosted ongoing demonstrations on both campuses for over six months. In all formal correspondence from both administrations regarding our ongoing demonstrations, they blatantly lied, stating the protestors were not Tulane affiliates. Tulane claims the encampment was composed of non-Tulane affiliates, yet numerous Tulane students, faculty, staff, and alumni were present at the encampment and other actions leading up to this larger demonstration. We join the larger network of student organizers around the world who have been facing extreme repression for protesting while genocide is occurring in Gaza, the West Bank, and all of occupied Palestine.

We understand the political undertones of this moment. We understand the student movement is not simply being targeted in response to exercising the right to free speech. We understand this is not a repression of free speech in the abstract, but we are confident that universities across the US are reacting this way because pro-Palestinian speech has material consequences.

We remain steadfast and resolute in our commitment to the Palestinian cause. The ongoing intimidation and violence will only strengthen our resolve to shout for a Free Palestine and for the liberation of all oppressed people. Despite this violent retaliation against unarmed peaceful students, alumni and their supporters, will continue to demand both Tulane and Loyola universities divest from the Zionist entity and disclose connections to any and all genocidal oppressors.

We demand all charges be dropped.

We demand all suspended students and Students for a Democratic Society be reinstated.

We demand that Tulane stop threatening its faculty, students, and staff with disciplinary action.

We will continue our fight because a Free Palestine is a promise and one that we intend to keep.

#NewOrleansLA #SDS #TulaneSDS #LoyolaSDS