Israel and Palestine ConflictNews

120 students and faculty arrested at NYU Gaza encampment, protests continue into Tuesday

More than 100 people occupied Gould Plaza on Monday, in front of the NYU Stern School of Business, in protest of the continued war in Gaza and NYU’s connections with Israel. (Photography by Ryan Schwach)

Following the suit of other Manhattan-based private universities, NYU students are protesting the continued war in Gaza and calling for NYU to divest from any involvement with Israel. 

Several dozen NYU students occupied Gould Plaza on Monday, in front of the Stern School of Business. The encampment, which was in place from early Monday until Monday night, brought with it hundreds of other students, faculty and onlookers to West 4th Street throughout the day on Monday, and ended when NYPD officers moved in and evicted the encampment. 

According to protestors, the encampment set up and began at Gould Plaza around 4 a.m. Monday, with tents set up with the intention of staying put until demands were met, similar to actions at Columbia University and the New School. 

“We’re here showing our solidarity with Gaza and with the other encampments that have sprung up, and we’ll stay here until our demands are met,” said a GSAS student involved in the encampment. 

She said that the demands were for NYU to fully divest from “NYU institutions that pay into Israeli occupation,” amnesty for students protesting and shutting down the NYU Tel Aviv campus. 

The organizer told Pavement Pieces that Gould Plaza was a private and open area good for what they were trying to accomplish. 

“NYU is the second largest landowner in Manhattan, they’re just displacing communities every day,” she said. “So we are staking a claim, taking back the land that belongs to this community.” 

“They see that our movement is strong, that our solidarity is deep, and so they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do if that’s trying to arrest us, that’s what it’s gonna be,” she added. “But we are not scared. We’re standing here together.” 

Pavement Pieces spent much of Monday afternoon and evening outside and inside the “liberated zone” as crowds steadily grew and NYPD officers and campus security watched. 

(Photography by Ryan Schwach.)

NYU issued a warning telling the protestors to clear the plaza by 4 p.m., a warning that was not acted on as the protests continued on West 4th well into the evening.

The university began limiting student entrance into the plaza, at first requiring student ID, but then moving to not allow any other individuals, including the media, into the plaza. 

At around 4 p.m., NYU faculty members held hands in front of the encampment, many holding signs that said “hands off our students.” 

(Photography by Ryan Schwach)

By 8:30 p.m., NYPD officers moved in the back of Gould Plaza via West 3rd Street, and announced over a loudspeaker that if protestors did not leave the plaza they would be arrested for trespassing. 

After a brief confrontation with protestors, NYPD moved in from both directions and cleared out the encampment as protests continued around the area and marched towards SoHo. 

(Photography by Ryan Schwach)

According to the NYPD, 120 individuals were taken into custody Monday night, 116 of whom were released with summonses for trespassing. 

The other four individuals were issued Desk Appearance Tickets on other charges of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. 

On Monday night, the NYPD tweeted a letter form NYU asking the NYPD to move in on the encampment. 

The letter said that protestors were “disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing” and “interfered with the safety and security of our community.” 

In a separate email to the student body sent about two hours after arrests began, NYU President Linda Mills and Fountain Walker, vice president for global campus safety, issued a memorandum about Monday’s events. 

We made no move to clear the plaza at that point because high among the University’s aims was to avoid any escalation or violence,” the email read. “So, the University was deeply disturbed when, early this afternoon, additional protesters — many of whom we believe are not affiliated with the University — suddenly breached the barriers that had been put in place at the north side of the plaza and joined the others already on the plaza. The breach was in violation of directions from Campus Safety Officers and in violation of multiple University rules.” 

“While academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas are and always will be bedrock principles on NYU’s campus, hate, disruption and intimidation can never be countenanced,” the administration added. 

In response to the arrests, NYU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) pushed back against the NYU administration’s description of the protests, and alleged the NYPD used violent tactics while making arrests.  

SJP denied that students had breached barriers, as NYU had alleged, and said that protests had remained peaceful. 

“NYU is trying to pit students against each other with invented claims of ‘antisemitic incidents’ and ‘safety issues,’” SJP said in its response. “We will not back down and we will stand united. We will fight to keep each other save from the NYPD, NYU administration, anti-Palestinian racism, anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-semitism.”

Also on Tuesday, the perimeter of Gould Plaza was boarded up, but protests continued at Washington Square Park with a student walkout at 1 p.m. 

The NYU Palestine Solidarity Coalition’ held a strike and walkout in Washington Square Park on Tuesday. Hundreds of Pro-Palestine supporters gathered for the rally, which marks day two of protests at NYU after Monday’s encampment in Gould Plaza ended with 150 students and faculty members arrested by the NYPD. (Photography by Jordan D. Brown)


Like Monday, hundreds of NYU students, faculty members, and Pro-Palestine supporters gathered for the strike hosted by the “NYU Palestine Solidarity Coalition.” 

“Free Palestine” chants quickly spread across the park as people trickled in and joined the protest. Within the first 20 minutes of the strike, Washington Square Park was filled with posters in support of Palestine and demanding NYU to close down its Tel Aviv campus..

Some posters read, “Zionist donors and trustees, hands off our universities,” “NYU, shame on you,” and “resist colonial power by any means necessary.”

Along with NYU, Columbia, and The New School, several universities across the nation, like the University of Maryland, Yale University, and more, have reported protest activity on their campuses in support of Palestine and divestment from Israel.

Following the ongoing encampment at Columbia, the university permitted students to attend classes virtually for the remainder of the semester, which ends on April 29. As the end of the semester nears, universities will monitor continued protests and demonstrations throughout the country.

The NYU Palestine Solidarity Coalition’ held a strike and walkout in Washington Square Park on Tuesday. Hundreds of Pro-Palestine supporters gathered for the rally, which marks day two of protests at NYU after Monday’s encampment in Gould Plaza ended with 150 students and faculty members arrested by the NYPD. (Photography by Jordan D. Brown)

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