Pro-Palestine protesters on U of M campus ordered to disperse

Pro-Palestine protesters set up new encampment on U of M campus

Pro-Palestine protesters set up new encampment on U of M campus

Students began a new week with protests on college campuses across the country, including at the University of Minnesota.

Hundreds of students were out chanting and setting up new tents at the East Bank campus on Monday, setting up tents outside Northrop Hall. Just before 9:30 p.m., police warned protesters to leave or risk being placed under arrest.

Last week, nine protesters were arrested at the U of M for trespassing after they put up tents and refused to take them down when asked by police.

“The goal of everything is to win our demands, to divest from Israel and to free Palestine,” said Mira Altobell-Resendez with the group Students for a Democratic Society.

Organizers made up of a coalition called UMN Divest shared a list of six demands of the university, which includes the U cutting ties with companies they say are “complicit in war crimes, genocide and human rights violations.”

“We’re gonna hold our ground. We’ve got people ready to say that this encampment is here to stay. And we are here to win for Palestine,” Altobell-Resendez said.

The U issued a message to students, faculty and staff saying they expect the protests to “continue on campus in the coming days,” urging everyone to remain “nonviolent” and “peaceful” and to observe state law and university policy. That includes “restrictions prohibiting tents and encampments.”

University officials also notified the campus community that all buildings surrounding Northrop Mall would be closed for the day starting at 2 p.m.

While the protests remained mostly peaceful, there were some moments of tension.

One video a student shared with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS shows what appears to be a demonstrator pulling on an Israeli flag held by a counterprotester before both tumble to the ground.

In a statement, the Jewish Community Relations Council said, in part, “President (Jeff) Ettinger has a moral and legal obligation to use his voice to specifically condemn and address campus antisemitism” and that “from the quad to the classroom, the escalating intimidation of Jewish students must end.”

More than an hour after the dispersal order was issued, students and tents remained on Northrop Mall, but about half of the crowd had left. University policy does not allow for tents to be set up without a permit; organizers tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they don’t have plans to get one.