Pro-Palestinian student protests taking over the world: more that 2,000 students arrested just in the US while Rafah remains under attack

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Protests led by students, which originated from Columbia University in the US, sparked a chain of global solidarity rallies among the other states in America and Europe. On May 7 Israeli government initiated a military strike on Rafah, a previously presented area of Gaza as “safe-zone”, where more than 1,4  million of civilians seek refuge. Demonstrators demand immediate ceasefire, divestment of their institutions from Israel funding and disclosure of the fund with the students for clarity, Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports on the situation worldwide.

Students' argument stays with the refusal for their tuition payments to be used in a way of sponsoring Israel, therefore supporting the actions taking place. However, not only students but the faculty are joining in solidarity with those who were arrested and(or) suspended as the result of peaceful protests.

About two dozen educators from New York City New School set up encampments in the lobby of the academic building in protest to the institution’s refusal to meet students' demands. Earlier, just on this campus more than 50 students were arrested for participating in the protest.

Across the United States, since the beginning of the student-led protests more than 2,000 arrests were made and graduation ceremonies cancelled. However, not just the US is affected by the protests as students from across Europe also joined in by setting up encampments and holding peaceful demonstrations.

As well as in the US, where students from Ivy League Universities lead the wave of the protests, in the UK prestige universities like Oxford and Cambridge are faced by the same demands of their students. The demands include: financial divestment from the companies involved in the Israeli military action or directly from Israel; disclosure of financial information to the students for clarity; reinstatement of the students suspended by the administration, which is seen as unjust punishment for practicing freedom of speech rights; and ceasefire in Gaza.

Protests in solidarity with Palestine were also conducted across Europe. In Amsterdam, at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, an encounter with police, which was called by the school's chancellor, Javier Reyes, "as a last resort” with the students resulted in the arrest of more than 130 people and the removal of an encampment. 169 more were arrested after breaking up the encampment at the University of Amsterdam. Student-led protests sparked a number of clashes with authorities and arrests across Europe as well as the US: in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.

Participation of Israel in Eurovision 2024, held in Swedish city Malmo, was met with 10 to 12 thousand pro-Palestinian protesters, including young world-known activist Greta Thumberg, taking their indignation to the streets. Protests followed by chants and representation of Palestine’s flag colors, called for a ceasefire and criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza, especially with the attack on Rafah.

The attack on Rafah is a criticized action by many world leaders, even those supporting Israel, including Joe Biden. The recent negotiations between Hamas and the Israeli government ended with no results despite Hamas agreeing to the ceasefire proposal presented by mediators. Amidst the negotiations, an attack on Rafah has started with civilians reporting seeing tanks on the outskirts of the city. As of right now, UNRWA estimates that 110,000 have fled Rafah, but reportedly 100,000 civilians are asked to evacuate Rafah with even more people trying to seek refuge through the crossing of the Egyptian border.

Since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, which resulted in 1,200 deaths, the IDF operations across Gaza strip alone estimate the death toll of 30 to 40 thousand women, children and other civilians.


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