update deskSchools & Higher Education

Police arrest 13 anti-Israel protesters at Stanford University

The demonstrators barricaded themselves in the office of the president while others formed a human chain outside the building.

Police car lights. Credit: tevenet/Pixabay.
Police car lights. Credit: tevenet/Pixabay.

Police arrested 13 activists at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., on Wednesday after they barricaded themselves inside the office of the school’s president, demanding divestment from companies that do business with Israel.

The occupation of interim president Richard Saller’s office began around 5:30 a.m. on the last day of spring semester classes when around 10 students stormed the office, located at Building 10 just off the campus’s main quad.

Another 50 students formed a human chain around the building with some spray-painting the walls with slogans, including “Death to Israhell” and “Death to America.”

The building was cleared in about three hours.

There was “extensive damage,” Dee Mostofi, a campus spokeswoman, told The New York Times.

The protesters chanted, “Palestine will be free, we will free Palestine,” The Stanford Daily reported. One of the student newspaper’s reporters was among those detained.

Saller and provost Jenny Martinez said in a joint statement that students who participated in the protest would be immediately suspended and any seniors would not be allowed to graduate.

They also said that the university removed an anti-Israel encampment at the school that was set up on April 25, citing public safety concerns and that it violated school policies.

“The situation on campus has now crossed the line from peaceful protest to actions that threaten the safety of our community,” the statement said, adding that the anti-Israel protesters tried to occupy another building.

Mostofi told The Associated Press that a police officer was lightly injured when he was shoved by protesters during the arrests.

The president and provost also condemned the graffiti, which they called “vile and hateful.”

“We are appalled that our students chose to take this action, and we will work with law enforcement to ensure that they face the full consequences allowed by law,” Mostofi said.

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