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Police quickly quash N.Y.U. Gaza encampment, arrest more than 130

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Police promptly squelched an anti-Israel encampment on the New York University campus Monday evening, making mass arrests.

The pro-Palestinian occupation had only recently popped up earlier that day at Gould Plaza, in front of the N.Y.U. Stern School of Business.

The university told the protesters to vacate, but reportedly then became increasingly concerned over “professional agitators” being in the mix.

In a statement, university spokesperson John Beckman said, “This development dramatically changed the situation. We witnessed disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing behavior that has interfered with the safety and security of our community, and that demonstrated how quickly a demonstration can get out of control or people can get hurt.

Many of the protesters obscured their faces with masks or traditional keffiyeh scarves. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)
Protesters linked arms as the police prepared to make arrests. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

“We also learned that there were intimidating chants and several anti-Semitic incidents reported,” he said.

The New York Post reported the university sent the New York Police Department a written request for officers to intervene.

The Daily News reported, “An N.Y.U. spokesman said the school asked the N.Y.P.D. to step in later in the day after the crowd became disorderly amid intimidating chants and anti-Semitic incidents.”

Shortly after 8:30 p.m., police started making arrests.

The protesters were demanding N.Y.U. divest from weapons manufacturers and sever the school’s relationship with Tel Aviv University.

Protesters linked arms and held hands around the short-lived encampment as police moved in to oust them from the space and make arrests. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

In addition, the New York Post reported “dozens of N.Y.U. faculty” reportedly jumped into the fray, at one point “linking arms” to prevent cops from busting up the encampment.

Fox 5 “Good Morning America” quoted Kaz Daughtry, deputy police commissioner for operations, saying the N.Y.U. faculty, in fact, were “the most aggressive toward the police.”

“They would not move,” he said, “they would not let go.”

The Daily News said up to 15 faculty members tied their hands together.

Police are looking into who is providing the tents for the various campus encampments, noting the tents all look the same. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

Protesters said two of their comrades were pepper-sprayed. Faculty members denied there were outside agitators at the short-lived occupation.

Afterward, the anti-Israel demonstrators, some toting flares, marched down toward Police Headquarters near City Hall, chanting, “Gaza!” and “We will free Palestine within our lifetime!”

In total, according to the Post, 133 protesters were arrested both at Gould Plaza and on the march toward One Police Plaza, with all being released and given summonses for disorderly conduct.

The Daily News said N.Y.U. was fencing off Gould Plaza on Tuesday.

Gould Plaza, on W. Fourth Street between Washington Square East and Greene Street, is apparently a designated public space: N.Y.U. ceded the spot for use as a public plaza, in return for the university being allowed to use a strip of city-owned property on LaGuardia Street to widen the footprint for its massive Bobst Library one block to the west.

A total of 133 protesters were arrested. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

According to a Community Board 2 resolution from 2011 assessing the district’s open space in connection with the “N.Y.U. 2031” 20-year expansion plan: “The Department of Transportation property along La Guardia Place between Washington Square South and West 3rd Street was transferred to N.Y.U. in the 1960s in connection with the development of Bobst Library, thus interrupting the LaGuardia Place greenway that previously connected to Washington Square Park, in exchange for new public open space to be created at Gould Plaza.”

However, C.B. 2 added, disapprovingly, “Gould Plaza, while technically accessible to the public has a private character that discourages public use and serves a private purpose.”

Sean Sweeney, the director of the Soho Alliance and a former C.B. 2 member, noted that Gould Plaza’s being slightly elevated — one must climb stairs to access it — is what gives it a private feeling. He said the late Doris Diether, the board’s longtime zoning maven, had explained this point to him.

After clearing the encampment from Gould Plaza, helmeted police stood guard over the space. (Photo by Paul DeRienzo)

On the other hand, Occupy Wall Street protesters in 2011 camped out on private property — Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan — which was said to have helped the movement hold its ground there for 59 days.


  1. I-----m I-----m April 28, 2024

    NYU & other institutions of higher learning (!) definitely did overreact. and thank you sean sweeney for pointing out what the awesome doris diether explained.

  2. Gordon G. Gordon G. April 23, 2024

    When is the Anti-Hamas rally? Really. People seem to forget who the real enemy is.

  3. ted tedorov ted tedorov April 23, 2024

    Stop the genocide!

  4. Bill Weinberg Bill Weinberg April 23, 2024

    I want to know what “intimidating chants and anti-Semitic incidents” were “reported” and by whom. Vague claims like this are very dangerous in the current climate.

  5. Anthony Anthony April 23, 2024

    Let’s try to characterize the protests not as anti-Israel, but anti-Israel policies where for 7 months we have watched women, children, aid workers, hospital workers, journalists, …. all be slaughtered. Whole towns and cities leveled. That is why people, many being led by our Jewish friends, are out on the street.
    Knowing that it all could stop if our money and our US weapons were not being used supporting such horror.
    Although indeed there are agitators, no doubt, and some who take advantage, but very largely these are all kinds of people who are calling for a stop to murder.
    We do and will continue to correct and stand up to any anti-semitic talk or action. How ignorant for leaders, i.e. our Mayor and President and Congressman, to label what is happening anti-semitic. Wrong!
    Allowing this murder is against all Jewish law and a beautiful heritage of caring for the underserved. It’s clear to us in the street, not to media.
    We deplore anti-semitism.
    No one argues about freeing hostages… that is a given and is clear. We’d like those Palestinians held in Israel freed as well.
    We’d like Israel to stop blocking the independent UN investigation into Oct. 7th.
    We want people to live together in peace… that is the goal, and our Representatives and militarism and media are fueling the opposite.
    For now, we will continue until the Killing is Stopped.
    Settlers continue to move into Palestine…. There is almost no second state left… for decades Settlements are declared by the world, illegal… yet we help pay for their construction.
    Hamas is an ideology, not a people, arisen to face long-intolerable policies. Let’s face them. That is how we end terror.
    Stop all killing, by all. STOP now. Thank you.

  6. Peggy Peggy April 23, 2024

    Back in the Vietnam days we marched, yelled, sat down. Sometimes we were annoying. Democracy is sometimes messy. I feel like NYU overreacted.

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