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Approximately 40 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested on Auraria Campus in downtown Denver

About 40 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested on Auraria Campus, face trespassing charges
About 40 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested on Auraria Campus, face trespassing charges 03:44

Approximately 40 pro-Palestinian protesters on the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver were arrested on Friday afternoon. The protesters were handcuffed and led to a bus and eventually processed by Denver authorities on charges of trespassing. School officials say the charges are related to the campus's policy which prohibits camping.


The protests began on the campus on Thursday when some people erected tents on the Tivoli Quad. It's part of a nationwide trend where similar protests have emerged on college campuses this week. 

According to a statement by the Auraria Campus, tents are not allowed on the campus due to "health, safety and security considerations."

The protesters refused to disperse when they were asked by police. 

CBS News Colorado's helicopter flew over the protests as officers were seen detaining people near the tents and taking them to the bus. The lead police agency on the arrests was the Auraria Campus Police Department. Denver police officers served a supporting role.

Several protesters were seen carrying Palestinian flags. Some students on the campus said they want the college administration to take a public stance against the Israel–Hamas war. 

"The campus administration is standing with Israel, standing with genocide. The students aren't, they're standing with Palestine and standing against genocide. The people know what is right, they understand what is right and wrong," one protester told CBS News Colorado's Kennedy Cook. 

The Jewish Coalition of Colorado released this statement: "We call on university leadership to take bold action before this protest rises to the violent and dangerous levels... This is not about peaceful protest or the First Amendment, this is about keeping Jewish students safe while they pursue higher education."

Eventually, a circle of law enforcement officers formed around the protesters as the number of protesters grew smaller when all of the tents were removed. Officers were wearing helmets with face shields. 


A University of Colorado Denver student named Ben, who decided not to share his last name, spent the night at Auraria Campus on Thursday inside a tent he had set up as a form of protest.

"I think we need to be occupying more spaces, disrupting more events because everyday that passes hundreds of people die and that's our tax dollars," said Ben.

"The more that we can get out and disrupt business as usual until the U.S. pulls their support from this genocide, the better," said Ben.

Daniel Bennett, executive director of Hillel of Colorado, which is an organization that serves and protects Jewish students on Colorado campuses, says he stands by any peaceful protest, but does not agree with demands from protestors. Those demands include an end to the University of Colorado's study abroad programs in Israel.

"They're asking for peace of the Palestinian state then I am with them, they ask to boycott Israel and to treat Israel differently than any other sovereign country then, I'm not" said Bennett.

"When anybody demands to be treated different than any other state that's antisemitism whether they believe it is or not," said Bennett.  

Read the full statement from Auraria Campus below:

On Thursday, a protest started on the Tivoli Quad on the Auraria Campus. Numerous discussions have taken place with the students before yesterday's demonstration, including a session Thursday night involving Dr. Angie Paccione, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and a member of the Governor's cabinet. These engagements have been aimed at attentively hearing and comprehending the students' perspectives. The Auraria Campus and the three higher education institutions continue to be committed to listening to and collaborating with the students and protecting their right to free speech.

We are aware of individuals near the demonstration who falsely present themselves as representatives of the higher education institutions and the Auraria Higher Education Center. Additionally, we know of national disruptors who are not students who have joined this demonstration. It's important to note that all faculty and staff members associated with each entity on campus possess official badges for identification purposes.

We fully support the right of students to assemble peacefully. Still, it's essential to note that Auraria Campus policy prohibits camping on the premises because of health, safety, and security considerations. Participants set up an encampment and were repeatedly notified that they did not comply with the policy.

Denver police also released a statement about the protests:

We value free speech rights and the right to respectfully demonstrate for all students and Denverites. After numerous requests to remove camping structures that violate campus policy, today the Auraria Campus Police Department performed arrests on some individuals who had violated that policy. Denver Police Department served in a supporting role to the Auraria Campus Police Department and we will continue to monitor the situation.

– Denver Police Department

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