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Pro-Palestine student protests sparked across the campuses

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Protests in support of Palestine are spreading across the world, with large demonstrations taking place in American universities and on European streets. These protests are part of the second week of demonstrations calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of over 34,000 Palestinians. Thousands of students are calling on dozens of universities to divest from Israel.

Some universities have been forced to cancel their graduation ceremonies, while others have seen entire buildings occupied by protesting students. The City University of New York (CUNY) is one of the latest institutions to join the movement, where hundreds of students have set up an encampment on campus with banners with slogans like “No More Investment in Apartheid.”

University leaders have tried, and largely failed, to quell the demonstrations across the US. The police have intervened violently, with videos emerging from different states showing hundreds of students – and even faculty members – being forcefully arrested. At Columbia University, where armed police officers detained more than 100 pro-Palestinian activists on campus about a week ago, university leaders said in a statement on Friday that if the university calls the New York Police Department again, it would “further inflame what is happening on campus.”

However, some university leaders and state officials have strongly condemned the protests, calling them “anti-Semitic.” Demonstrators reject the accusation, with many Jewish activists and some Orthodox Jews joining the ranks.

Protests have also sprouted all around the globe. In Berlin, activists set up a camp in front of parliament to demand the German government stop exporting arms to Israel. At the renowned Sciences Po University in the French capital, Paris, protesters blockaded a central campus building on Friday, forcing classes to be held online. The latest pro-Palestine rally in Sweden on Saturday saw people marching in the streets to chants of “Free Palestine” and “Boycott Israel.”

In central London, hundreds gathered on Saturday afternoon in solidarity with Palestinians, with a smaller group organizing a pro-Israel event. Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a march organizer, said he expected hundreds of thousands to attend from across the United Kingdom. He dismissed critics saying that protests have been anti-Semitic.

Meanwhile, Rina Shah, a Washington-based political strategist and former senior congressional aide, said protests in US universities are a display of democracy in action, a welcome sight in an election year marked by concerns of voter apathy chiefly due to Israel’s war on Gaza.

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