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Students protest against war in Gaza as universities host kick-off: live updates

12:16 AM ET, May 5, 2024

University of Virginia says 25 people arrested for trespassing after clearing pro-Palestinian encampment on campus

From CNN’s Nic. F. Anderson and Samantha Beuk



Heavily armed police officers arrest a protester on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

Eze Amos/Getty Images

At least 25 people were arrested on Saturday for trespassing, the University of Virginia said, after police were called in to disperse a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

In a statement, UVA said those arrested were taken to the Albemarle County Regional Jail. The university says it is still waiting for confirmation on how many of the 25 arrested were affiliated with UVA.

The statement said the University of Virginia “responded today to a demonstration near the University Chapel following demonstrators’ multiple violations of University Police and subsequent violent behavior.”

CNN has contacted UVA’s Gaza camp multiple times for comment.

When asked about examples of violent behavior by demonstrators, a university spokesperson referred CNN to its statement, which indicated during Saturday’s police action that “authorities were again confronted with agitation, chants and violent gestures such as waving objects. ”

The campus was declared “stable” around 4 p.m., UVA said, after police were seen chasing protesters away from the area.

Earlier this week, a group called UVA Encampment for Gaza posted a statement on Instagram calling on the university to divest from Israel.

In its statement, the university said the protests earlier this week were peaceful, with no disruptions to university activities. A request to remove tents at the UVA Chapel on Tuesday was honored and previous demonstrations were in accordance with university policy, the statement said.

The statement said Friday that UVA officials offered to continue discussions on university investments, adding: “The university agreed to the group’s latest request to allow students, faculty and staff to express their support for Palestine without endangering administrative discipline, provided that such expressive activities took place within the limits of the laws and UVA policies.”

UVA said Friday evening that “a crowd occupied the demonstration area for a vigil and began setting up several tents and canopies prohibited by university policy.”

On Saturday morning, the university said the chief of police told the group they would be given 15 minutes to voluntarily remove the tents. After several further warnings throughout the day, UVA said: “Due to increasing resistance from protesters and refusal to comply with the declaration by immediately leaving the designated area, additional Virginia State Police resources were requested to assist in enforcing of the declaration of an unlawful act. meeting around 2:45 p.m.

Virginia State Police referred CNN to the university and its police as the lead agency on campus. State police were present Saturday as a “resource,” a spokesman said.