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Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

MPD Deadline to Clear Pro-Palestine Encampment Passes, Stalemate Persists

Maren Fagan/The Hoya

Pro-Palestinian protesters, including students from Georgetown University, maintained their position camped at University Yard on George Washington University’s (GWU) campus by the evening of April 25 as GWU’s campus police and Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) did not follow through with threats to disperse the protesters.

Protesters from GWU set up tents in University Yard at around 5 a.m. and chanted throughout the day, with Georgetown students arriving shortly after noon and protests encompassing around 600 people at points during the afternoon and evening. Though GWU gave protesters a deadline of 7 p.m. to move their tents and disband their encampment before MPD would intervene, police have not cleared the encampment as of midnight. 

Since April 17, universities have become centers of pro-Palestine protest, with students calling for an end to the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) ongoing attacks on the Gaza Strip, which have killed over 40,000 Palestinians and ushered in an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Students have set up encampments similar to that at University Yard at universities across the country, with many university leaders cracking down on protesters. 

Matt Buscarino (CAS ’27), who attended the protests at University Yard, said the encampment’s continued survival reflects protesters’ resilience.

“As a show of resilience, it’s tremendous,” Buscarino told The Hoya. “They said that they were gonna shut it down at seven o’clock, it’s now 9:19. So the same power that people have overall, I think it’s a good thing to be active, to be vocal and to not back down in the face of adversity.” 

A statement from GWU’s Student Coalition for Palestine, an alliance of student organizations advocating for the liberation of Palestine and for GWU to divest from companies providing technology or financial support to Israel, which the group posted on Instagram late April 25, said student protesters will hold their position in University Yard. 

“GW Admin and MPD thought they could sweep the GW Gaza Solidarity Encampment at 7pm,” the statement read. “But in their arrogance, they underestimated the power of the people!! Four hours past the supposed deadline, the community is still going strong and numbers are growing! Keep coming through to deter the police all night and ensure the encampment lasts through to tomorrow!”

GWU wrote in a 7:50 p.m. statement that the university is currently in conversation with D.C.’s MPD to determine its response to the ongoing encampment.

“The encampment is an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies,” the statement reads. “The university and MPD are continuing to work in coordination to determine how to best address the situation and ensure student compliance with those policies.”

Buscarino said the protests demonstrate hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Gaza. 

“I believe that there is a way forward for peace,” Buscarino said. “I believe that there’s a way forward for justice. I believe that there’s a way forward for human rights that is being overlooked by the people in power.” 

Buscarino said he attended the encampment to demonstrate his support for human rights and peace.

“That’s really why I’m here, to show support for all those who believe — rightfully so — that the people in power do not care about human rights, human justice and the well-being of all people around the world,” Buscarino said.

At the event, protesters criticized MPD, tying them to the IDF, which they referred to as the IOF or Israeli Occupation Force.

“MPD, KKK, IOF, you’re all the same,” protesters chanted. “MPD, what do you say? We know you’re Israeli-trained.”

While Buscarino expressed solidarity with protesters in the encampment, he said he disagreed with certain chants, especially those calling for the elimination of the state of Israel.

“I think the Israeli state should exist as a state,” Buscarino said. “I disagree with the way that they run the Israeli government. I disagree with, of course, the bombings of Gaza. I disagree with anything that has to do with the way they socially discriminate against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, within the walls of the holy cities. But I fundamentally believe that there is good in a Jewish state. I just don’t agree with how that state is being run.” 

Although Georgetown President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) called for a ceasefire in Gaza and the return of hostages April 1, GWU President Ellen Granberg has declined to support students’ demand for a ceasefire.

At the protest, demonstrators called for colleges to protect student protesters and pro-Palestinian speech on their campuses. Members of Georgetown’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-Palestinian student advocacy organization, specifically called for Georgetown to divest from Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, and Amazon over their ties to the IDF. 

Connor Marrott, a junior at the University of Notre Dame conducting research as a visiting student at Georgetown for the semester, said both universities’ failure to divest from companies supporting the IDF has disappointed him, but Georgetown students’ commitment to pro-Palestinian advocacy has encouraged him. 

“In D.C. and just the DMV area in general, it seems like it’s much more mobilized than we are at Notre Dame, and I’ve actually been really encouraged by a lot of the Georgetown students, especially because I think the Georgetown students are picking up on the Catholic connection and the Catholic duty,” Marrott told The Hoya.

“I would say Georgetown is very encouraging on that front, but also I share the organizers’ concerns about investment,” Marrott added. 

Eliana Troper (GRD ’25), another protester, lauded student protesters’ unity. 

“The big message is that all of these students are here united against the genocide that’s going on and you have a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds,” Troper told The Hoya. “I’m very proud of all the people here who are fighting for that, and I hope that the universities do what they should and listen to their students.”

Krina Shah, a first-year student at GWU who attended the protests both earlier in the day and after the 7 p.m. deadline, said she found the encampment and its continued survival inspiring. 

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be here when this is happening to witness something like this,” Shah told The Hoya. “This shouldn’t be happening in the world. But everyone coming together under a common idea regardless of who they are — everyone’s just coming together to support and fight for something.”

Kaia Tien, an attendee unaffiliated with Georgetown and GWU, said she was glad to see students from different universities join the protest, adding that calls for a ceasefire are only a first step.

“I think it was really great to hear how many universities came out, like how many people from different schools,” Tien told The Hoya. “I think it’s a good first step, but I also think that there’s so much more to be done. And I don’t want people to be placated by just that first step and just continue to ask them more.”

Troper said she hoped student protesters would continue to fight for universities to divest from Israel and condemn Israeli military action in Gaza.

“I’m very proud of all the people here who are fighting for that and I hope that the universities do what they should and listen to their students,” Troper said. “And if that happens, then hopefully, people will keep up the energy and continue protesting.”

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About the Contributor
Catherine Alaimo
Catherine Alaimo, Senior News Editor
Catherine Alaimo is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from Scottsdale, Ariz., studying psychology with minors in journalism and French. She can perfectly impersonate Anna Delvey from "Inventing Anna." [email protected]
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    Scott McNeilApr 26, 2024 at 8:08 pm

    GU students supporting hamas terrorists who murdered and kidnapped American citizens. Disgraceful!