Police clear protest encampment at DePaul

Chicago police dismantled DePaul University’s pro-Palestine encampment Thursday morning after administrators signed a complaint alleging trespassing by the protestors, officials said.

University leaders said Saturday they had reached an impasse in negotiations with organizers, but no intervention was taken throughout the week.

The encampment, erected April 30, had been Chicago’s last-standing university demonstration against the ongoing war in Gaza. Around 100 tents were pitched on the university’s main quad in Lincoln Park. Encampments were previously erected Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Friday morning, about two dozen police officers stood on West Fullerton Ave outside the main quad. They stood their bikes in a line to make a barricade while a group of organizers faced them and yelled messages of protest.

“Let’s wake up the neighborhood,” said one.

No protesters or police officers were injured during the clearing at DePaul, though two people were arrested afterwards for blocking traffic, according to CPD spokesman Tom Ahern.

Provost Salma Ghanem said in a previous statement that while students are peacefully protesting, “responses to the encampment have inadvertently created public safety issues that put our community at risk.” There was a heated counterprotest at the encampment last Sunday, which drew police to the scene.

In a statement when the encampment first went up, DePaul said that although the tents violate “a variety of university policies,” the administration remained “steadfastly devoted to academic freedom and free speech.”

Since then, campus unrest has become more widespread. Aside from the raid last week at the University of Chicago, last Saturday, Chicago police arrested nearly 70 protesters last week at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Loop.

Israel launched its bombardment of Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, where the group killed some 1,200 people and took 250 hostages. Since then, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

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