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Police at Princeton pop-up encampment arrest 2 as anti-Israel protests sweep universities

Anti-Israel protesters attempted to set up a tent encampment at Princeton University Thursday before police moved in and made two arrests.

The wave of anti-Israel protests sweeping college campuses hit Princeton on Thursday morning, when dozens of demonstrators attempted to erect a tent encampment – only for university police to move in and make two arrests, a spokesperson tells Fox News Digital.

Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest, a group involved in the protests, lashed out at the show of force, labeling the school's police force as "pigs" on social media.

The protests began as a sit-in on McCosh Courtyard and then some began erecting tents, which is a violation of school policy, according to the university spokesperson. A large banner reading "Popular university For Gaza" was also being held up by protesters.

Princeton University Public Safety, the Ivy League school’s police force, gave demonstrators several warnings before acting, the university says.


Authorities then arrested two graduate students, who were cited for trespassing and were immediately barred from campus, pending a disciplinary process, the spokesperson said. 

All tents were then voluntarily taken down by protesters, the New Jersey university says, although social media posts show protesters still taking part in a sit-in on tarps and blankets in the courtyard. 

"Pigs pictured here arresting two of our fearless students!" a post on X from Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest reads. 

"The administration is trying to bar, suspend, and expel them. Please join us in calling on Princeton admin to stand in solidarity with Gaza and our peacefully protesting students!"

As police led one of those arrested away, the crowd began cheering and then chanting: "We will not stop, we will not rest, disclose, divest."

A draft press release says the protesters are calling on the university to "divest and disassociate from Israel," and to call attention to Princeton's "active contribution to ongoing genocide and human rights catastrophe."

"We’re gonna be here for a while, everybody," one demonstrator shouted after the arrests, The Daily Princetonian reports, adding that protesters have also set up an art project, a library and a yoga area in the courtyard.


"We’re gonna be here until the university divests," another demonstrator told the publication.

Rabbi Eitan Webb, the co-director of Princeton‘s Chabad House, was part of a group of half a dozen counter-protesters, some holding American and Israeli flags, standing off to the side.

"I applaud Princeton administration for being clear on what the rules are and for enforcing them properly," Webb told The Daily Princetonian.

The protest went ahead this morning despite the university sending a message to students on Wednesday detailing its approach to handling such protests.

President University President Christopher Eisgruber wrote an op-ed in the student newspaper, outlining the institution's commitment to free speech, but noted protesters must abide by strict rules.  

"That guarantee extends to protests and demonstrations, provided they do not involve genuine threats, harassment, or conduct that impedes the right of others to be heard, violates the law, or disrupts essential operations," Eisgruber wrote.

"Some types of protest actions (including occupying or blocking access to buildings, establishing outdoor encampments and sleeping in any campus outdoor space) are inherently unsafe for both those involved and for bystanders, and they increase the potential for escalation and confrontation."

He said those types of protests are also inconsistent with the university’s mission and its legal obligation to provide a safe environment for all students and employees.

"Any individual involved in an encampment, occupation, or other unlawful disruptive conduct who refuses to stop after a warning will be arrested and immediately barred from campus," Eisgruber wrote, adding that such behavior could jeopardize students’ ability to complete the semester and delay a diploma, or result in expulsion. 

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