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Dozens of students arrested in USA for protesting against Gaza attacks

Columbia University has suspended classes, while dozens of protesters were arrested at Yale and New York University.

Meanwhile, Harvard Yard gates were closed to the public as some of the most prestigious US universities aimed to ease campus tensions surrounding Israel’s Gaza attacks.

These actions came after the arrest of over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators who had camped out on Columbia’s green last week.

In addition to protests at Ivy League schools, pro-Palestinian encampments have emerged on other campuses, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, and the University of Michigan.

The protests have caused divisions among students, with pro-Palestinian students urging their schools to condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza and divest from companies selling weapons to Israel. Meanwhile, some Jewish students feel unsafe due to the criticism of Israel.

Tensions remained high on Monday at Columbia University in New York City, where campus gates were locked to those without a school ID, and protests erupted both on and off campus.

Columbia University President Nemat Shafik expressed deep sadness about the situation on campus in a message to the school community on Monday.

Protests have disrupted many US college campuses since Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Prahlad Iyengar, an MIT graduate student studying electrical engineering, was among about two dozen students who set up a tent encampment on the school’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus on Sunday evening. They are calling for a ceasefire and protesting what they see as MIT’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

“MIT has not even called for a ceasefire, and that’s a demand we have for sure,” Iyengar said.

He also mentioned that MIT has been sending confusing messages about protests.

“We’re out here to demonstrate that we reserve the right to protest. It’s an essential part of living on a college campus,” Iyengar emphasized.

The latest developments came ahead of the Monday evening start of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The protest encampment sprung up at Columbia on Wednesday, the same day that Shafik faced bruising criticism at a congressional hearing from Republicans who said she hadn’t done enough to fight antisemitism. Two other Ivy League presidents resigned months ago following widely criticized testimony they gave to the same committee.

Shafik said the Middle East conflict is terrible and that she understands that many are experiencing deep moral distress.

Several students at Columbia and its sister school, Barnard College, said they were suspended for taking part in last week’s protests, including Barnard student Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Democratic US Representative Ilhan Omar.

At Yale, police officers arrested about 45 protesters and charged them with misdemeanor trespassing, said Officer Christian Bruckhart, a New Haven police spokesperson.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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