Police Clear Out Anti-Israel Encampment At George Washington University

REUTERS/Craig Hudson

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, D.C., announced it cleared out a pro-Palestinian encampment on George Washington University’s campus early Wednesday morning.

Protesters have been occupying University Yard for just shy of two weeks, joining numerous other colleges across the country in their calls to boycott, divest and sanction Israel over its war on Hamas in Gaza. Officers made arrests for “assault on a police officer” and “unlawful entry,” according to the MPD, just hours before Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser was set to testify in Congress about the protests.

“The District of Columbia supports individuals peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. The [MPD] has been supporting the George Washington University and monitoring First Amendment activities that began on April 25, 2024,” the MPD statement read. “The Department has worked to pursue non-arrest methods to deescalate tensions during this time and ensure the safety of the GW students and campus. Based on incidents and information, there has been a gradual escalation in the volatility of the protest.”

The MPD also said it worked “closely” with the university’s administration to clear out the encampment. At least a dozen protestors were arrested, and the encampment was cleared due to the perception that officials had yet to come to an agreement with protesters, according to The GW Hatchet, a campus newspaper. (RELATED: Massive American Flag Unveiled Over George Washington University Pro-Palestine Encampment)

Activists rest inside a pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University in Washington, DC, U.S., May 2, 2024. REUTERS/Craig Hudson

Activists rest inside a pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University in Washington, DC, U.S., May 2, 2024. (REUTERS/Craig Hudson)

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer announced on X that Bowser’s testimony was cancelled after MPD cleared out the encampment.

“I had a good conversation with Mayor Bowser. I thanked her for finally clearing the trespassers off the GW Campus,” Comer said in a statement. “It was unfortunate the situation at GW forced the Oversight Committee to act; however it was apparent that the DC police force was not going to do their job.”

The protestors were seen taking down a campus flag on campus Thursday and replacing it with a Palestinian one, which university officials later said was illegal. Anti-Israel demonstrators also defaced a statue of George Washington by covering it with Palestinian flags, stickers, graffiti and other material.

Similar protests and encampments have popped up at Columbia University, Yale University, Emerson College, University of California, Los Angeles and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Administration officials at Columbia cancelled its main commencement ceremony on Monday following weeks worth of protests, which included a campus building’s seizure.

George Washington University did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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