6 Penn Students Among 19 Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested Trying to Occupy Building

By Hamodia Staff

Police walk by a side entrance to Fisher-Bennett Hall where pro-Palestine supporters had erected barricades before clashing with police on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia on Friday. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A half-dozen University of Pennsylvania students were among 19 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested during an attempt to occupy a campus building, university police reported on Saturday.

These arrests occurred a week after authorities dismantled a protest encampment on campus, arresting nine students. Similar actions have taken place at other colleges across the country as they prepare for commencement season, with some negotiating agreements with students and others calling in police to clear protest camps.

Members of Penn Students Against the Occupation of Palestine initiated the action on Friday at Fisher-Bennett Hall, urging supporters to bring “flags, pots, pans, noise-makers, megaphones” and other items, according to a news release from the University of Pennsylvania Division of Public Safety.

Officers moved in “within the hour,” reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. University police, supported by city police, then escorted the protesters out and secured the building, according to news outlets.

After clearing the building, police reported recovering “lock-picking tools and homemade metal shields fashioned from oil drums.” Exit doors had been secured with zip ties and barbed wire, barricaded with metal chairs and desks, while windows were covered with newspaper and cardboard, and bike racks and metal chairs blocked entrances.

Seven of the students arrested on Friday remained in custody on Saturday, awaiting felony charges, including one individual who assaulted an officer, campus police stated. A dozen protesters were issued citations for failing to disperse and follow police commands, and were subsequently released.

The attempted occupation of Fisher-Bennett Hall followed a similar incident a week earlier when city and campus police dismantled a two-week encampment on the campus, arresting 33 people. Of those, nine were students, and two dozen had “no Penn affiliation,” according to university officials.

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