GW University protesters to rally as pro-Palestinian encampment continues 8th day

George Washington University students rally on campus during a pro-Palestinian protest over the Israel-Hamas war on Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)(AP/Jose Luis Magana)

A week into a pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University in D.C., protesters held separate rallies on Thursday in support of Palestine and Israel.

The demonstrations come as police break up similar encampments at colleges around the U.S., at times deploying pepper spray and arresting protesters.

While D.C. police have said they are monitoring the encampment, officials have not taken action to remove demonstrators from campus.

Several groups organized a pro-Palestinian rally Thursday morning at the University Yard — where the encampment is located. The purpose of that meeting was to “defend the progress the encampment has made,” according to a social media post from organizers.

Meanwhile, other groups of students who are Jewish or pro-Israel held a “rally against campus antisemitism.” That rally took place Thursday at 11 a.m. on campus at G Street Park.

The rallies follow a visit from congressional Republicans, who criticized the hands-off approach taken by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and police in handling the pro-Palestinian encampment.

Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said university officials told lawmakers they want the encampment cleared.

“I would strongly encourage the mayor to have the police do their job and ensure that there’s at the very least no trespassing,” he said. “Peaceful protests are fine, but trespassing is against the law.”

When asked about whether D.C. officials turned down requests for help from the university, Bowser said: “I haven’t ever turned down requests for help. We support all of our employers, all of our universities and our police.”

The committee has scheduled a Wednesday hearing on the response to protests; Bowser and the police chief were summoned to speak.

Students tell WTOP the protests have been peaceful and House Republicans have inflamed the situation. They plan to continue the demonstration until their demands are met.

Demonstrators around the country are demanding that universities divest from Israel and disclose endowments and academic partnerships with the Middle Eastern nation. GWU demonstrators are also asking the school to drop charges against protesters.

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Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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