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Dozens arrested as police clear out Pro-Palestine Protest Encampment at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech has joined the growing list of universities across the country that are calling for the end of the war in Gaza, with dozens of students gathering at the graduate life center lawn in protest.

For the last three days, students and others have remained camped out at a Pro-Palestine Protest Encampment on Virginia Tech’s campus, and late Sunday night, several students were put under arrest and likely charged with trespassing after they refused to leave when instructed to do so by police. A student told 10 News that about 60 people were arrested.

When we asked Fathia Animashuan, a junior at Virginia Tech, what the protest meant to her, she responded with the following:

“I am here because I feel like what’s happening in Gaza is an injustice, and I feel like all the people who are compliant need to be held responsible. There’s no reason why you should be able to see kids dying.”

The protests were peaceful; however, the university told protestors that the gathering violated the university policy and posed a safety risk. In the face of this, students continued to yell that they weren’t leaving and linked arm-to-arm in a human chain, making their voices heard.

Students made their demands clear to Virginia Tech, asking the university to divest from Israel and provide endowment transparency, issue an official statement condemning Israel’s violence against Palestine and the genocidal loss of life and define anti-Palestinian racism and acknowledge the suppression of Palestinian and allied students on campus.

“Our problem now is the contradiction in their rhetoric about them wanting us to be heard and their reasoning for giving us leeway these past couple [of] days versus what they are doing right now and the approach they are taking right now,” said Emon Green, a 4th-year student.

At about 11 p.m., Virginia Tech issued a statement in response to the protests, which can be found in its entirety below:

At about 3:30 a.m., Virginia Tech sent out an alert, urging students to avoid the Graduate Life Center as a police presence remains.

On Meet the Press Sunday morning, Senator Tim Kaine spoke about the protests going on across the country, saying, “People have a right to protest and make their views known. And almost, you know, overwhelming percentages of people do that peacefully, but there are those who intimidate or harass others.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin responded to protests across the U.S. as well with the following statement:

We will continue to have live coverage all Monday long and will be live at the scene during Virginia Today.

Stay with 10 News as this breaking news story develops.

Source: WSLS News 10

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