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Police Violently Disperse Pro-Palestine Encampment at Wayne State University, Remove Hijab of 3 Protesters

Police have forcibly shut down a tent encampment at Wayne State University protesting against the Israeli regime’s ongoing brutal war on Gaza and have arrested several pro-Palestine demonstrators, according to a university official. 

At around 5:30 am, University police, in coordination with Detroit police, barged in to break up the encampment that was set up a week ago on May 23. 

“Occupants of the encampment are gone,” Matt Lockwood, a spokesman for Wayne State, told the Free Press this morning. “And the cleanup crew is here, removing the leftover things that people didn’t take with them. The encampment is over.” Lockwood further claimed that the protestors were issued warnings by police before they moved in, while stating that 12 arrests were made. 

Three hijab-wearing women were also arrested with their hijabs forcibly removed. 

In a statement earlier today, Wayne State University President Kimberly Andrews Espy   accused the encampment for causing safety problems and intruding on the rights of others. “Since the encampment was established on May 23, it presented legal, health and

safety, and operational challenges for our community,” Espy said.

“University leadership repeatedly engaged with occupants of the encampment. Espy added that Wayne State police this morning “made repeated amplified announcements to allow everyone time to gather their belongings and leave. Many people left.” 

After the violent raid, demonstrators gathered around the campus while calling on the police for being abusive during the arrests.

At about 8:45 a.m., U.S. House Rep. Rashida Tlaib and others flocked outside the entrance off of Anthony Wayne Drive that was obscured by a wall of police behind yellow tape.

Tlaib and some family members of a student spoke of how the police pulled off the hijab of a 19-year-old student, Nazimia Abdrabah, of Dearborn, during the abusive acts of the police. The Uncle of Nazimia revealed that he saw a video of the incident.

“You took her Islamic headscarf off,” Tlaib, her voice choking with emotion, told a police officer guarding the entrance. “Do you care anything about them?”

The protesters at the pro-Palestine tent encampment had been calling for divestment from Israel or companies tied to Israel, and even ending police training in the Israeli regime. Divestment from the occupation entity could pose a challenge in Michigan since a 2017 state law prohibits the state from “having contracts with anyone who supports divestment from or boycotting strategic partners of the U.S. such as Israel.

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