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US campus protests continue despite mass arrests, brutality

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles on April 25. (Photo by AFP)

Pro Palestine encampments at universities across the United States continue to redefine what was long considered an ardently pro-Zionist country.

With social media and alternative media outlets giving the nation's youth unprecedented honesty regarding Israel's war crimes and its non-legitimacy, a new poll finds that 65% of current American college students support the protests, half of whom say they sympathize with Hamas.

The shift in public sentiment has not been accepted by the universities and political elite. The United States is enduring its worst student repression in over 50 years.

Pro-Palestine supporters have erected camps or staged sit-ins at over 100 college campuses across some 40 states.

Authorities have responded by making nearly 3,000 arrests, using tear gas, police brutality, and even firing rubber bullets at peaceful student demonstrators.

Many say the massively expensive and elitist system of higher learning in the United States has been exposed as lowbrow, intolerant, and riddled with hypocrisy.

While these universities are teaching about the Civil Rights Movement, and then teaching about the trail of tears of  the Native Americans and that genocide, and they're teaching about many uprisings and protesting and the ones students actually go forth with what they're taught, It's wrong and it's not right.

And I think it's also sad that these are students at the end of the day, it's not as if this is a violent encampment, a lot of these encampments are teaching us you know, we're having teachings about Palestine, where it's a community here.

And I think a lot of time that gets very twisted in, especially in Western media where they have framed us as if we are violent and we are aggressive and where prohibiting people from going to school, when that's not the case.

Henna Ayesh, DePaul University Divestment Coalition

At the last University encampment standing in Chicago, protesters are humbly proud of what a historic change they have helped create.

They can only hope that college administrators will not resort to police violence, expulsions or attempts to ruin the personal futures of protesters.

I think the encampment movement specifically is a type of protest action the US hasn't seen in a hot minute (a very long time) and now it's spreading all across the country.

 I really think that the pushback that we're seeing is (due to) the fact that some institutions just haven't had to confront questions of free speech like that before.

And it's really unfortunate that the exception is free speech and Palestine.

Parveen Mundi, DePaul University Student Body President

Many universities have refused to seriously talk with the protesters whose main demands are an end to military aid to Tel Aviv, divestment from Israel, and an immediate ceasefire in Israel's latest attempt at ethnic cleansing and genocide.

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