The pro-Palestinian camp at the University of Michigan was broken up by police

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Police broke up a pro-Palestinian camp at the University of Michigan before dawn on Tuesday. It cited a threat to public safety and came less than a week after protesters increased the pressure by seating Fake body bags on a school official's lawn.

Officers wearing helmets and face shields dispersed about 50 people from Diag, which has been known as a site for campus protests for decades. A video posted online showed police spraying what appeared to be an irritant on people who were forced to retreat.

“UM is not a campground,” Sarah Hubbard, chairwoman of the university board, said on the social platform X.

At least four people were arrested, leading protesters to march to the Washtenaw County Jail, where they marched outside in support of their allies.

“We will not stop, we will not rest,” a coalition of pro-Palestinian student groups said on social media.

The campus camp was set up on April 22, near the end of the school year and just before families arrived for the start of spring. Posters mocking President Santa Ono and other officials were also displayed.

After the camp was cleared, surrounding buildings, including the undergraduate and graduate libraries, were closed and police turned away students who showed up to study.

Ono said in a statement that the camp had become a safety threat with overloaded power sources and open flames, adding that organizers had refused to accommodate requests for changes following an inspection by a fire marshal.

“The disregard for safety protocols was just the latest in a series of worrying events surrounding a camp that has consistently violated Diag rules – particularly those that ensure the space is accessible to all,” Ono said.

The protesters demanded that the school's foundation stop investing in companies with ties to Israel, but the university insists it does not make direct investments less than $15 million be placed with funds that could also include companies in Israel. That is less than 0.1% of the foundation's total assets.

“There is nothing to discuss. “This matter has been resolved,” Hubbard said last week.

On May 15, a group of 30 protesters showed up outside her home and laid stuffed, red-stained sheets that looked like body bags on her lawn. They beat a drum and chanted slogans through a megaphone.

People wearing face coverings also made demands on the doors of other board members.

“This behavior is literally — literally — taking us to the doorstep of my house if we don't address anti-Semitism,” board member Mark Bernstein, a Detroit-area attorney, said at a regents meeting last Thursday. “Who's next? When and where will this end? As a Jew, I know the answer to these questions because we have experienced many tragedies that have a very high probability of happening again. Enough is enough.”

Students and others have set up camps on campuses across the country to pressure colleges to cut their financial ties with Israel. Tensions over the war had been high on college campuses since the fall, but demonstrations quickly spread after police cracked down on April 18 Camp at Columbia University. The number of arrests at universities nationwide has exceeded 3,000.

A camp of pro-Palestinian protesters at Drexel University in Philadelphia remained standing despite an attack on Tuesday previous threat from the president of the school to obtain clearance.

University administrators tried to open a line of communication with the protesters but were rebuffed, Drexel President John Fry said in a statement Tuesday. He said city and campus police planned to monitor a rally at the camp planned for Tuesday evening.

Because of the camp, lectures will remain virtual for a third day on Wednesday and some events will have to be postponed, Fry said.

“Many of you have expressed frustration with our decision to limit in-person classes and activities. I understand and share your frustration. But rest assured that we are doing everything we can to safely return our campus to normal operations,” he said.


White reported from Detroit. Associated Press reporter Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania contributed to this report.

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