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The Situation Escalates at The CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment

By Rhiannon Rashidi

CITY COLLEGE, April 30– Free Palestine protesters are now in their sixth day of encampment on the City College quad. And when they received an email this morning from representatives of the college stating that they must leave by tomorrow, they had to make a choice: To stay, or to go.

Organizers put the choice to a public vote around 6:00 pm, and every person at the encampment voted to stay. Soon after, just past 7:00 pm, a group of free Palestine protesters from around the city, who had been marching today to all of the Gaza solidarity encampments on NYC college campuses, made it to City College. And so did dozens of NYPD cars. 

The situation on and around campus quickly escalated. Two NYPD trucks arrived with beds full of fences, and they quickly blocked the perimeter around the school. By 8:00, the NYPD fully blocked access in and out of the school. And at 8:45, two police officers guarding the campus entrance at Amsterdam and 138th Street confirmed that “nobody is allowed in or out.”

The Paper was able to talk to Ayesha, a City College student and protester who was trapped inside the campus, through the bars of the gate at 137th Street. She told us that protesters at the encampment decided to take over the Wille Administration Building not long after 7:00pm. “Once we all ran over there, the security guards from the building pepper sprayed us and pushed us,” Ayesha said. It is unclear if any students made it inside the building.

At 8:22pm, City College President Vincent Boudreau sent an email to the entire student body discussing the encampment. In light of developments that President Boudreau vaguely describes as “contentious and violent,” he informed the campus community that “we are instructing the demonstrators encamped on our quad to dismantle their encampment.” 

The police barricade extended from Amsterdam and 135th Street to Convent Ave and 141st Street, as of 9:20pm. As of then, there were also still protesters inside the school, and video footage shows them taking down the American flag from the flagpole at the center of the school and their encampment. Protesters are still outside the school, chanting and using flares.

Update, 12:00 am: At least one bus of arrested protesters was filmed driving away from the City College campus in an NYPD bus. Officers have cleared the protesters from campus and are dismantling their encampment. Reporters from The Campus magazine were escorted off of the college campus by NYPD officers while live-streaming the events.

This story is ongoing and will be updated with more information soon.  


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