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Police won't break up pro-Palestinian protest at Johns Hopkins 'barring any credible threat of violence'

Police monitoring but not stopping pro-Palestine protest at Johns Hopkins
Police monitoring but not stopping pro-Palestine protest at Johns Hopkins 03:16

BALTIMORE - Baltimore Police and city leaders are not in a rush to shut down a pro-Palestinian protest at Johns Hopkins University unless it gets out of control.

Police said in a statement that the "City of Baltimore strongly stands with every person's First Amendment rights."

Protesters set up an encampment and organized rallies on Monday and Tuesday on the Homewood campus.

Demonstrators are calling for Johns Hopkins University to disinvest from Israel and disclose all financial ties to Israel as outrage grows over the mounting death toll in Gaza.

"Personally, we are Palestinian so it hits home a little bit more and we're just really amazed by these students who are taking a stand all over the country," one protester said. 

Hopkins is being pressured to cut ties with Tel-Aviv University in Israel, where a two-year Master of Arts program partnership was established in recent years.    

"Our politicians are not listening to us, and so, students and the communities that are concerned, the humanity that's concerned are trying to find a way to get heard," another protester said.

Police say that while monitoring the protests, barring any need, they don't plan on stopping the protest.

"Barring any credible threat of violence or similarly high threshold to protect general public safety, BPD currently has no plans to engage solely to shut down this valid protest or remove protestors," Baltimore Police told WJZ.

Protesters returned to JHU for a rally into the night on Monday, which continued on Tuesday.

Johns Hopkins said it reached an agreement with the pro-Palestinian protests that if they dispersed, they could protest on campus from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

However, the group that organized the protest, "Hopkins Justice Collective," told WJZ that no agreement has been reached despite an opposing statement from Johns Hopkins. 

Hopkins Justice Collective tells WJZ that no agreement has been reached despite an opposing statement from Johns Hopkins.  

But, Johns Hopkins told WJZ on Tuesday that protesters took down their entire encampment, except for a few items left overnight, and dispersed following "discussion and negotiation with university leaders."

A handful of people, whose identities were unknown to the school, refused to leave, according to a JHU spokesperson.

"Having people remaining outdoors and camping overnight on our campus is inherently unsafe for the participants and the community," a JHU spokesperson said. "JHU will continue to work with student protesters to ensure free expression and compliance with our policies, codes, and agreements, and as noted in our community message to students last week, we will enforce our rules.

"We have been clear that the consequences of violating our policies and creating unsafe conditions include academic discipline, which is determined by University officials, and trespass, which is handled by local law enforcement."

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