Police, Pro-Palestine Protesters Clash On VCU Campus, Allegedly Triggering Shelter-In-Place Orders


Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
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Virginia authorities and pro-Palestine protesters clashed Monday evening on Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) campus, allegedly triggering shelter-in-place orders.

Video footage posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) shows the chaotic events unfolding from the night as activists protested at the school since the morning. A group of protesters had gathered outside of the school’s James Branch Cabell Library on VCU’s Monroe Park campus, calling their established set up the “Liberation Zone.”

The protesters could be seen in video footage posted online by RVA Magazine writer Goad Gatsby during the day waving Palestine flags and chanting sayings like “one, two, three, four, occupation no more” while drums beat in rhythm. While activists appear to have no plans on when the demonstration would end, a pick-up truck at one point during the day was caught on video dropping off pallets of wood for the group.

Although students could be seen being told by Vice President of Student Affairs Aaron Hart that they weren’t allowed to have “structures” while demonstrating, the protesters ignored the warning and instead built tents and used the pallets to build a barrier around their zone. (RELATED: Chaotic Scene Unfolds Between Authorities, Pro-Palestine Protesters)

By roughly 9 p.m., a bus full of VCU police and Richmond Police Department (RPD) officials dressed in riot gear began to arrive on the scene, and were later joined by Virginia State Police (VSP) officials also dressed in riot gear. While it is unclear what authorities stated to the protesters, officials could be seen moving in on the group’s makeshift barricade and deploying pepper spray as protesters threw bottles and other objects.

Emergency sirens could be heard going off as the two clashed, however, police eventually backed off to reconvene with the arrival of VSP. During the chaotic scene, students were allegedly alerted that a shelter-in-place had been activated on the campus.

VCU posted to their X account regarding the situation and stated that as final exams were beginning this week the school “must provide students the opportunity to safely and successfully complete the semester,” as the “gathering violated several university policies.”

“VCU respectfully and repeatedly provided opportunities for those individuals involved – many of whom were not students — to collect their belongings and leave. Those who did not leave were subject to arrest for trespassing,” the school posted. “While supporting an environment that fosters protected speech and expressive activity, VCU must maintain an atmosphere free of disruption to the university’s mission.”

The Daily Caller has reached out to both VCU and VCU police.