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US campus crackdown: 500 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested

Police arrest pro-Palestinian students on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, on April 24, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

US police have arrested more than 500 protesters during a crackdown against pro-Palestinian protesters on university campuses across the country on Thursday.

Anti-riot police used chemical irritants and tasers against protesters, who set up camps in defiance of police warnings from Massachusetts to California, to protest against Israel's savage war against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Protesters were arrested at schools including the Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota, Indiana University and Princeton University.

At Emory University in Atlanta, police clashed with protesters, including students from other Atlanta universities and area activists and arrested dozens of protesters, including faculty members.

Videos are shared on social media, showing officers using tear gas, tasers and handcuffs to detain protesters.

Emory's vice president for public safety Cheryl Elliott said in a statement that law enforcement "released chemical irritants into the ground" to disperse the crowd after protesters ignored multiple warnings.

She said 28 protesters had been arrested, including 20 members of the Emory community, "some of whom have been released."

"We are working with responding agencies to expedite the release of any Emory community members who remain in custody.”

At Emerson College in Boston, police also tore down an encampment there and arrested more than 100 demonstrators early Thursday morning.

Students protest on the outskirts of an encampment protest at the University Yard at George Washington University on April 26, 2024, in Washington, DC. (AFP)

Police detained 93 people at the University of Southern California.

And at The University of Texas at Austin, 60 protesters were arrested.

In the event, faculty members gathered at a rally and called for the school's president, Jay Hartzell, to resign after he praised law enforcement for exercising restraint against the protestors.

The latest arrests which followed others at Columbia, Yale, Brown and New York University, came as a growing number of students joined the protests after President Joe Biden approved $26 billion in war aid to Israel on Wednesday.

Across the United States, groups of students and activists are now demanding the leadership of their universities to cut financial ties with Israel, whose brutal war on the Gaza Strip has killed more than 34,300 people since early October.

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