Friday, May 24, 2024

Vast majority of US campus pro-Palestine demonstrations peaceful, police bias towards Israel: Study

The NGO Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) has examined 553 campus protests in the US focused on the war in Gaza and found that the vast majority of them - 97% - did not include violence or property damage.

The study also found that while police were most likely to break up a protest when counter protesters also showed up, unopposed peaceful pro-Palestine protests were five and a half times more likely to be forcibly dispersed than unopposed pro-Israel protests.
The ACLED defined violence as something that goes beyond “pushing or shoving” and property damage as “breaking a window or worse”.

This was the second study the ACLED released on violence at campus protests, the previous review published on May 2 found that 99% of campus protests were peaceful.

Among the protests that included violence or property damage, roughly half of them only became violent after police was called to remove previously peaceful protesters. It also found far more incidents – 70 in total – where police used violence, including chemical agents and baton beatings, against protesters.

The most significant instance of violence, according to the study, was when a group of pro-Israeli protesters attacked an encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, where a pro-Israeli group showed up after dark using pepper spray and fireworks. In that case, the police stood by for hours, and then forcibly broke up the encampment the following day.

The study found only two incidents of what it considered serious property damage perpetrated by pro-Palestinian campus protests. One event took place at Portland State, where protesters occupied a library and damaged some computers and furniture. The second unfolded at Columbia, where protesters broke some windows while occupying Hamilton Hall.

According to reports, nearly 3,000 demonstrators have been arrested nationwide at campus protests.

Some protesters are complaining they have faced death threats and harassment after being added to a website that lists people who allegedly participated in antisemitic or anti-Israel protests.

The site, Canary Mission, includes a searchable database of students, professors, professionals and organizations it claims are antisemitic and lists people for alleged actions including joining a protest, participating in chants and posting on social media. It also includes a section called “Ex-Canary”, which lists anonymous quotes allegedly from individuals who were previously on the Canary list, condemning their previous comments and actions.

The site encourages people listed on the site to contact them to find out how to have their name removed.

“Individuals who believe that they should be removed from the Canary Mission website are encouraged to be in touch with us and may become an Ex-Canary,” the site’s About Us page reads.

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