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Middle East

Stanford University sees arrests as Pro-Palestinian protesters occupy president’s office

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  • More than a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested at Stanford University after barricading themselves inside the president's office.
  • The protesters demanded the university divest from companies supporting the Israeli military and called for transparency and no disciplinary measures against activists.
  • The incident is part of a broader movement across U.S. college campuses advocating for divestment from companies involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a dramatic display of campus activism, more than a dozen pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested at Stanford University on Wednesday after they barricaded themselves inside the president's office. The incident, which unfolded early in the morning, has drawn significant attention to the ongoing debate over university investments and their ties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The protesters, affiliated with the People's University for Palestine, gained entry to Building 10, which houses the offices of Stanford University President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez, around 5:30 a.m. PT. According to a spokesperson for the group, the protesters intended to remain inside the building until their demands were met. These demands included the university's divestment from companies that provide material and logistical support to Israel's military operations in Gaza.

Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi reported that the building was cleared within three hours following the intervention of campus police and Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies. "Thirteen individuals have been arrested, and the building has been cleared. There has been significant damage to both the interior and exterior of the building," Mostofi stated. The damage included graffiti on several walls and pillars, denouncing the police, Stanford University, and Israel.

The Demands

The protesters' primary demand was for Stanford University to divest from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Lockheed Martin, and Chevron, which they claim support the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. Additionally, they called for President Saller to publicly support the divestment proposal, disclose the entirety of Stanford's endowment holdings, and abandon all disciplinary measures against pro-Palestinian student activists.

This protest is part of a broader movement across U.S. college campuses, where students have been organizing demonstrations to urge their institutions to withdraw investments that they believe are aiding Israeli forces in their military operations in the Gaza Strip. The most notable of these actions occurred at Columbia University, where students seized Hamilton Hall, leading to a significant police intervention and the relocation of graduation ceremonies.

The protest at Stanford coincided with the final day of classes for the spring quarter. An encampment established by pro-Palestinian protesters in late April remains on a campus quad, symbolizing the ongoing nature of their activism. The university has yet to respond to the protesters' demands, and it remains unclear what disciplinary actions, if any, will be taken against those involved.

The incident at Stanford is a stark reminder of the passionate and often contentious nature of campus activism. As universities continue to grapple with their roles in global political issues, the voices of students and activists will undoubtedly remain a powerful force for change.

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