The campaign calling on Princeton to divest from Israel. No more war profiteering, no more upholding apartheid, Princeton out of Israel now!

PRESS RELEASE: Princeton University Gaza Solidarity Encampment enters 2nd day after student arrests

PRINCETON, NJ, APRIL 26—At approximately 7am yesterday, Thursday, April 25th, over 50 students in the autonomous Princeton Israel Apartheid Divest (PIAD) coalition attempted to erect tents as part of an encampment on Princeton University’s McCosh Plaza. Princeton police swooped in within minutes to violently arrest two graduate students, Hassan Sayed and Achinthya Sivalingam. The coalition is concerned they were targeted as students of color. Before they were arrested, the students heard a police officer order, “get these two.” They were immediately barred from campus and given 5 minutes to gather their belongings before being evicted from their homes. After hours of student, faculty, and community pressure, the evictions were reversed. Outstanding charges for “defiant trespassing” and student misconduct have not been dropped. We demand all charges and disciplinary action be dropped immediately.

It is vital that no one lose sight of why students erected an encampment in the first place. While PIAD ultimately established the Popular University here in Princeton, Israel’s brutal assault on PaIestine continues unabated. In the last 24 hours alone, the Israeli Occupation Forces killed 51 Palestinians in Gaza and injured 74 more. They arrested two rabbis carrying aid to the Erez Crossing and brutalized worshippers trying to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The United Nations now estimates that it will take 14 years to clear the rubble created by Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. Undeterred by the arrests, Princeton students held McCosh Plaza to launch a liberated zone in solidarity with Gaza. As the day continued, hundreds of Princeton students, faculty, staff, and community members joined our Gaza Solidarity Encampment to partake in Popular University programming like art builds, reading circles, and educational lectures. Speakers included Princeton Professors Max Weiss, Tehseen Thaver, V. Mitch McEwan, Zia Mian, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Rutgers Professor and lawyer Noura Erakat, and Palestinian students. Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Chris Hedges delivered a moving reading of a letter he wrote to Gaza’s children. As Hedges read the poem, Princeton police cited him for using amplified sound and banned him from campus as students and faculty shouted, “let him stay!”

Our Gaza Solidarity Encampment now continues into its second day after students held the space during the night. Today, Princeton Professors Ruha Benjamin, Lee Mordechai, and Agustin Fuentes will speak. Students will lead Jumma prayer and Shabbat services and screen films by Palestinian directors. Princeton University’s intimidation and repression continue too but we will not be deterred. The encampment will stay until the University agrees to divest from Israeli apartheid, to grant our arrested peers complete amnesty, and to the rest of our stated demands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *