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Pro-Palestinian Protesters Re-Establish An Encampment

Above photo: Brian Sherry.

UPDATE: According to the Pittsburgh City Paper: “ Last night, Pro-Palestine protesters returned to the University of Pittsburgh to reinstate their encampment on the Lawn of the Cathedral of Learning around 5 p.m. Protesters rushed to construct a barricade from wooden planks and wire fencing while University Police, State Troopers and other departments dispatched dozens of officers on the scene. By 7 p.m. Police had barricaded the protesters inside their own encampment, blocking access to outside food and water. By 8 p.m. Police arrested protester, Don Johnson for trying to bring supplies into the encampment. Later in the evening, Protestors rushed the lawn to throw food and water into the encampment, they were forcefully pushed back to the sidewalk. The standoff lasted through the night; protesters remain in their encampment this morning.”

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – At least 200 Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside of the Cathedral of Learning lawn on Sunday evening to re-establish a “Palestine solidarity encampment.” At least one person was arrested. This comes over a month after the previous “Gaza solidarity encampment,” which saw a large group of protesters set up camp in Schenley Park for nearly a week.

The protests began at the Cathedral lawn around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. The protestors set up wooden barricades and fences to block police from entering the encampment. As the evening went on, more protesters joined the initial group.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which helped organize the protest, said in a press release that it is demanding that the University divest its finances from “companies and institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation in Palestine.”

“The encampment has been established on University property to send a clear message to Chancellor Joan Gabel, Board of Trustees Chair Louis R. Cestello, Chief Investment Officer Jeffer Choudhry and the rest of senior administration and the Board,” SJP said in a press release. “Our community does not support and is not represented by a parasitic administration which rests in its complicity in genocide.”

A large law enforcement presence, consisting of campus, city and state police, eventually formed around the perimeter of the encampment. Around 20 police cars lined up on Fifth Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.

At around 9 p.m. police appeared to confiscate water bottles and ice bags that protesters attempted to bring into the encampment. Shortly after this, a brief struggle ensued as police attempted to arrest a protester for unknown reasons. The protester was taken away in a police car.

It remains unclear how long the protesters will remain at the encampment. The University has yet to release a statement regarding the protest.

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