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Pro-Palestine protesters arrested at Texas university (VIDEOS)

State troopers used pepper spray and stun grenades as they arrested dozens of pro-Palestine protesters camping at the University of Texas in Austin. At least 40 people have been arrested on Monday, according to the Texas Tribune. 

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Some students resisted arrest and had to be dragged by the officers, while others shouted “shame” and threw water on the police bus.  

“UT Austin requested backup assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety to protect the safety of the campus community and enforce our Institutional Rules, such as the rule that prohibits encampments on campus,” the university said in a statement.

Tense standoffs between police and activists are taking place in colleges across the US where students are demanding that Israel end its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The students involved in the demonstrations are urging universities and the US government to cut ties with the Israeli authorities and the army. 

More than 800 protesters have been arrested on US campuses since April 18, including more than 200 across four universities on Saturday, according to the New York Times.

Columbia University began suspending students involved in protests after a deadline to leave an encampment on the New York City campus expired at 2 pm local time on Monday. Students are refusing to abandon the makeship camp, which contains dozens of tents. 

“We’ve been asked to disperse, but it is against the will of the students to disperse,” Sueda Polat, one of the protest organizers, told reporters. “We do not abide by university pressures.” She added that the camp “will not be moved unless by force.”

The White House has condemned some of the rhetoric heard during the protests, accusing activists of shouting anti-Semitic slogans and intimidating Jewish students. “These dangerous, appalling statements turn the stomach and should serve as a wakeup call. It is hideous to advocate for the murder of Jews,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said on Friday.

Although the US expressed concern over the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza, it has stopped short of calling for an immediate comprehensive ceasefire. More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to local Hamas-run authorities.

The latest round of fighting in the Middle East was triggered by the October 7 raid by Hamas and allied militant groups into southern Israel. The incursion left some 1,100 people dead and more than 200 hostages taken to Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the IDF will not stop until it will “complete the elimination of Hamas brigades” in the southern part of the densely populated Palestinian enclave. 

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