University protests at Columbia, Michigan, UCLA amid Israel’s war in Gaza

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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 for trespassing Saturday, 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 said it is still waiting for confirmation regarding 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 protesters’ multiple University police violations and subsequent violent conduct.”

CNN has reached out to the UVA Encampment for Gaza multiple times for comment.

When asked for examples of violent conduct from demonstrators, a university spokesperson referred CNN to its statement, which indicated during the police action Saturday, “authorities were again met with agitation, chanting and violent gestures such as swinging of objects.”

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

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

In its statement, the university said protests earlier in the week were peaceful, with no disruptions to university activities. A request to remove tents near the UVA chapel Tuesday was honored and previous demonstrations complied with university policies, the statement said.

The statement said on Friday, UVA officials offered to continue discussions about university investments, adding, “The University agreed to the group’s final request to allow students, faculty and staff to express their support for Palestine without risking administrative discipline, provided that such expressive activity occurred within the limits of the laws and UVA policies.”

UVA said by Friday evening, “a crowd occupied the demonstration area for a vigil and began erecting several tents and canopies prohibited by University policy.”

Saturday morning, the university said its 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 the demonstrators’ increasing resistance and refusal to comply with the declaration by promptly leaving the designated area, additional resources from Virginia State Police were requested to assist with enforcing the declaration of an unlawful assembly 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 there in “an assist capacity” Saturday, a spokesperson said.


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