Chicago police clear pro-Palestinian encampment on DePaul campus

Chicago police cleared out a pro-Palestinian encampment at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus Thursday morning after school officials said they had reached an impasse with the protesters.

The encampment has been in place since April 30 and had been the last remaining in the Chicago area and the longest-standing in the country. Last week, campus police at the University of Chicago cleared a pro-Palestinian encampment, ending an eight-day demonstration.

At DePaul, live shots from the scene showed officers in riot gear at the quad just before 6 a.m. Thursday and carrying off items from the camp.

“Our Office of Public Safety and Chicago Police are now disassembling the encampment,” university president Rob Manuel said in a written statement early Thursday. “Every person currently in the encampment will be given the opportunity to leave peacefully and without being arrested,” the statement said. “I urge all there to leave peacefully and return home.”

“I write to you early on this Thursday morning to inform you that despite our good faith efforts to come to a shared resolution with the DePaul Divestment Coalition, we were unsuccessful,” Manuel said in the statement.

Manuel said he was “deeply saddened” by the development.

“Effective immediately, the quad and all other green spaces on the Lincoln Park Campus will be closed to everyone,” the statement said. “These spaces will remain closed until further notice so that we can begin property repairs and return to normal operations. Anyone who tries to breach the fence around the quad or any of the green spaces on the Lincoln Park Campus will be trespassed, arrested, and suspended.”

As of 7 a.m. the situation appeared peaceful with about 100 protesters standing across the street from the main quad where the last of the encampment was being dismantled. Officers on bikes lined Fullerton Avenue and and motorists were able to get past.

Protesters chanted: “free Palestine” and “Robert, Robert you can’t hide, you are funding genocide” in reference to DePaul University president Robert Manuel.

Over the weekend, administrators declared they had reached a stalemate with organizers and could not move forward with negotiations.

Student organizer Henna Ayesh said the encampment still wanted to negotiate and proposed additional meetings, but the administration did not show up.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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