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Pro-Palestinian protest continues at UC Berkeley

Pro-Palestinian protests continued at UC Berkeley on Friday.

This comes as campus police at other universities across the nation have stepped in. But UC Berkeley officials said they have no plans to involve police unless student safety is threatened.

It’s been nearly two weeks since protest tents first went up at UC Berkeley. Those tents are filled with pro-Palestinian protestors, demanding the school divest from any company that does business with Israel and support calls for a ceasefire.

Demonstrators said that they believe their message is being heard.

“Everyday, more campuses are going live with their own encampments and I think we are all really united in this struggle to get these universities to divest,” said UC Berkeley grad student Matthew Kovac.

Kovac is moving into the encampment that’s grown to over 150 tents. He said on Thursday, UC Berkeley’s student government resolution supporting calls for divestment showed progress in their movement.

“I think it really gives a lie to the idea is that this movement is rooted in anything other than anti-racism, anti-imperialism, full solidarity,” he said.

But, as the encampment grows, some Jewish students said they are beginning to worry about safety on campus. They added there have been multiple verbal and physical confrontations since the demonstrations started.

“Because of the obstruction of public space, the fact that it is a central place that people have to transit through, it creates danger for students who are visibly Jewish or who are perceived as opponents of the encampment,” said UC Berkeley student Daniel Solomon.

To address those concerns, the university has launched a new student escort service and campus police are investigating two incidents – including a law student’s claim that they were punched in the face by a person involved with the camp.

Police are also looking for suspects in another on-campus confrontation over an Israeli flag. Three people were injured in the incident.

The pro-Palestinian demonstrators said the suspect in that case was not part of their group.

“What we are seeing, This is not going away, this is escalating this is ratcheting up. From the bottom of my heart, I am racked with worry,” Solomon said.

Organizers said they are in negotiations with the university and have no plans to leave until their demands are met.

“There will be no rest until we divest. People are here for the long-haul,” Kovac said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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