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Students protesters camp out on GWU’s campus as Israel-Hamas war protests continue nationwide

Student protesters still camp on the George Washington University campus Friday, as protests against the war between Israel and Hamas continue after Georgetown University and GWU saw hundreds gather the day before .

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Students remain camped out on GWU campus as protests against Israel-Hamas war continue across the country

Student protesters camped out on the George Washington University campus Friday as demonstrations against the war between Israel and Hamas continued a day after Georgetown University and GWU saw hundreds of people rally on their campuses.

On Friday, shortly before 4 p.m., The Hatchet, GW’s student newspaper, reported that much of the encampment had been abandoned by students. The university had said the students would face disciplinary action.

Earlier, most of the protesters moved into and around the street – taking their bags and tents with them – after university students installed a metal fence around the university courtyard.

“I spoke to a student who told me that some students who were in that area decided to leave that area instead of risking arrest. They said they had scholarships and things like that, so they didn’t want to get arrested. » WTOP’s Kyle Cooper reported. “But some students stayed inside that metal fence.”

GWU alerted students at 7:39 a.m.. that access to the courtyard was restricted and that Kogan Plaza, the main square on campus, was also closed. The Hatchet reported at 8:26 a.m. that only “protesters willing to risk arrest” remained in the University courtyard.

“There are some who are still inside that barrier, others who are outside that barrier, they are still chanting,” Cooper observed Friday morning.

The chanting had resumed earlier around 7 a.m. as a heavy presence of University and D.C. police surrounded the courtyard. An hour later, these chants began to focus on the police presence as well as the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Washington DC police are on the perimeter, we’ve seen up to several dozen officers hanging around here, now only a handful,” Cooper said. “So we don’t know for sure whether the police intend to intervene and ask these students to move out, or forcefully evict them.”

Some students begin to leave the encampment to protest on the sidewalk and in the area surrounding University Court at George Washington University. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

WTOP/Kyle Cooper

The GW encampment tents can be seen Friday afternoon. (WTOP/Emily Venezky)

WTOP/Emily Venezky

Kogan Plaza in GW is blocked. (WTOP/Emily Venezky)

WTOP/Emily Venezky

Protesters against the war between Israel and Hamas and against George Washington University’s investments in Israel-linked companies chanted early Friday morning on the GWU campus. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

WTOP/Kyle Cooper

Note the block from the encampment supporting Palestine. (WTOP/Emily Venezky)

WTOP/Emily Venezky

Protesters were still camped in University Yard on the campus of George Washington University on Friday after spending the night in tents. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

WTOP/Kyle Cooper

Police surrounded protesters in University Courtyard on the campus of George Washington University on Friday. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

WTOP/Kyle Cooper

George Washington University has begun installing a metal fence around University Yard as encampments and protests continue Friday morning. (WTOP/Kyle Cooper)

WTOP/Kyle Cooper

George Washington officials said in a statement at 10 a.m. that “the individuals remaining on University Yard and any who attempt to join them are trespassing on private property and violating university regulations.”

The university said it was working with Washington, D.C. police to secure the area and would “pursue disciplinary action against GW students involved in these unauthorized protests that continue to disrupt university operations.” .

The protests disrupted law school final exams, which were scheduled to be held in buildings near the protesters’ encampment and were moved to another building due to noise.

In another statement released Thursday, officials said the institution “does not permit overnight encampments on university property” and that students must evacuate by 7 p.m. The university asked the police to intervene, but the police did not intervene even though the demonstrators were still there after the attacks. the deadline had passed.

The university released a statement at 7:50 p.m. Thursday saying the encampment “constitutes an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies.” The University and DC Police continue to work in coordination to determine how best to handle the situation and ensure student compliance with these policies.

The Hatchet reported Friday that the nearby campus main square, Kogan Plaza, was fenced off by police overnight and that sirens sounded around 2 a.m. as police warned they were about to start arresting students – but the arrests never happened.

The student publication also says the encampments began at 5 a.m. Thursday with 50 tents pitched in the University courtyard, just three blocks from the White House.

The Associated Press reported that the number of demonstrators increased significantly throughout the morning, with demonstrators waving Palestinian flags, beating drums and chanting slogans.

Later, a group of Georgetown University students and faculty staged their own walkout and marched to the George Washington campus to join the protesters.

Students from other local universities, including American University, George Mason and the University of Maryland, also took part in the rally on GW’s campus.

Despite a strong police presence around the camp, there were no serious incidents.

Protesters are demanding that the university end all relations with Israel and lift the suspension of a large pro-Palestinian student group. The Washington Post also reported on a rally earlier this week at American University, in which students marched to the president’s office building to demand that the administration divest from Israel.

Nationwide, administrators and police on college campuses from California to Connecticut are grappling with how to handle pro-Palestinian student protests that have led to scuffles with police and hundreds of arrests.

The protests were primarily inspired by early encampments at Columbia University, which are still in their tenth day as officials try to negotiate with students to dismantle the protest before the school’s Friday deadline.

WTOP’s Kyle Cooper, Will Vitka and Associated Press contributed to this report.

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