Home Politics UCR Students Establish Encampment To Protest Israel’s Actions In Gaza

UCR Students Establish Encampment To Protest Israel’s Actions In Gaza

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The encampment was set up last Monday, with several dozen tents placed on the green adjacent to the campus Bell Tower.

RIVERSIDE, CA — Students at UC Riverside established an encampment in the middle of campus to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza, joining nearly a dozen universities across California and numerous nationwide to demand the school end “all investments and endowments” benefiting the Jewish state.

“We are joining the student movement, the student Intifada,” according to an unnamed spokeswoman for Students for Justice in Palestine, UCR chapter. “We are not leaving this encampment day and night until the university complies and meets with us to discuss our demands.”

The encampment was set up Monday, with several dozen tents placed on the green adjacent to the campus Bell Tower, recognized as the center of UCR.

Campus administrators did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The specific number of students participating in the peaceful campus demonstration could not be confirmed. On Wednesday, a group of students staged a midday walkout from classes and held a rally at the tower, chanting “Israel is a racist state!” and “Free, free, free Palestine!”

There was no obvious law enforcement presence, and no campus buildings appeared to be obstructed.

The “demands” issued by the SJP UCR chapter included “a full transparent disclosure of all investments and endowments in weapons manufactures and the Israeli genocidal machine,” as well as a “full divestment from weapons manufacturers and any corporations that either fund or profit off the genocidal machine.”

The SJP-UCR representative noted there is no “standing university in Gaza” due to the unabated bombing campaign since early October conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces using U.S.-supplied drones and fighter-bombers.

The chapter spokeswoman alleged American “universities are complicit in the genocide,” and the protests at UCR and other campuses are intended to “condemn war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Messages taped to the large UCR sign underneath the Bell Tower included “Stop the U.S.-funded Genocide” “End the Occupation Now” and “Ceasefire Now!”

Estimates on the number of campuses where anti-war movements have surfaced over the last month vary, but according to the nonprofit National Students for Justice in Palestine, “solidarity encampments” numbered just over 70 as of May 1.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the International Committee of Red Cross-affiliated Palestine Red Crescent Society, nearly 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza — over 14,500 of them children — since the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas incursion into Israel, culminating in the IDF’s invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The number of injuries is in excess of 77,000, according to published reports.

Israel’s official casualty rate for the duration of hostilities is 8,730, of which just over 1,000 have been fatalities.

Along with universities, hospitals, refugee camps and residential complexes in Gaza have been targeted, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, according to reports from the region.

Human Rights Watch has alleged Israel “is using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip,” and according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the humanitarian crisis caused by the bombardments on the Strip’s infrastructure has resulted in almost 500,000 “displaced persons” requiring shelter and other assistance.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday that of the 97 reporters killed in hostilities since early October, 92 have been Palestinian. Others have been assaulted, injured and arrested.

The CPJ said the current “war … has led to the deadliest period for journalists since we began gathering data in 1992.”

Aid workers have also been killed. The United Nations has estimated the number at 220, including seven World Central Kitchen volunteers whose vehicle took a direct hit on April 1 during an IDF drone strike on a convoy.

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