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May 19, 2024

Pro-Palestinian encampment set up on Drexel University campus

About 75 protesters with the Drexel Palestine Coalition established a 'Gaza Solidarity Encampment' on the Korman Quad on Saturday following a demonstration at City Hall.

Protests Drexel University
drexel university encampment Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up tents on Drexel University's campus on Saturday, establishing a 'Gaza Solidarity Encampment.'

On Saturday evening, pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up tents on Drexel University's campus, establishing what they call a "Gaza Solidarity Encampment."

The encampment was established around 7 p.m. following a demonstration of hundreds of people at City Hall as part of the Philly Palestine Coalition's Nakba Day march to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, 6ABC reported. After the demonstration, about 75 people involved with the Drexel Palestine Coalition marched to campus, where they set up tents on the Korman Quad.

MORE: Demonstration erupts at Penn after pro-Palestinian protesters attempt to occupy academic building

Just before 9 p.m., police in riot gear arrived to campus, NBC10 reported. Some officers wore helmets and carried shields. They were later seen setting up barricades and perimeters around the encampment, 6ABC reported.

The group involved in the encampment is calling on Drexel for "divestment from genocide and redistribution of funds toward investments in Palestine, disclosure of material and financial expenses and profits, defense against repression and censorship, and an explicit declaration that we are witnessing a genocide," according to a statement posted by the Drexel Palestine Coalition. 

The individuals involved in the encampment are not all Drexel students, and some are not students at all, police told NBC10.

Drexel University's president, John Fry, released the following statement in response to the encampment, according to 6ABC:

"Drexel Police and Public Safety are closely monitoring this demonstration to ensure that it is peaceful and non-disruptive to normal operations, and that participants and passersby will behave respectfully toward one another. We will be prepared to respond quickly to any disruptive or threatening behavior by anyone against anyone. 

To underscore the point: We will not tolerate the destruction of property; the harassment or intimidation of our students, faculty or professional staff; or threatening behavior of any kind, including speech that is explicitly racist, antisemitic, or Islamophobic, that creates a hostile environment for members of our community based on race, color, national origin, religious affiliation, or shared ancestry. Nor will we allow anyone who is not a member of the Drexel community to trespass into our buildings and student residences. At the present time, our buildings are on lockdown and open only to those with clearance from Drexel's Public Safety."

The demonstration comes about a week after police disbanded a pro-Palestinian encampment on University of Pennsylvania's campus, arresting 33 individuals including 9 Penn students. On Friday night, a group of protesters attempted to occupy Fisher-Bennett Hall on Penn's campus in support of Palestine, leading to arrests and subsequent demonstrations.

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