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Yale student demonstrators arrested amid pro-Palestinian protest

Yale investigating report of Jewish student assaulted at pro-Palestinian rally
Yale investigating report of Jewish student assaulted at pro-Palestinian rally 02:13

Protesters demanding Yale University divest from military manufacturers and expressing "solidarity with Gaza" amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas were arrested Monday after officials said they refused to disband an encampment on campus. Demonstrations then spilled out into the streets of New Haven, Connecticut.

For the last several days, a pro-Palestinian protest group called "Occupy Beinecke" erected a 24-tent encampment outside of Yale's Beinecke Plaza. In a statement on Instagram, the group said the encampment was also in solidarity with the recent protests at Columbia University, which resulted in multiple arrests last week and this weekend. In Boston, MIT and Emerson College campuses also saw student protests.

At Yale, university and New Haven police officers removed the protesters camped outside the Schwarzman Center on Monday and blocked entry to Beinecke Plaza. The demonstration spilled onto the streets of New Haven, where Yale's campus is located, about 80 miles north of New York City.

Video posted on social media showed students marching down Grove and College Streets, changing and cheering.

Police arrested 45 protesters on Monday. In a statement to CBS News, a Yale spokesperson said the university repeatedly asked the protesters to vacate the plaza and when many did not leave voluntarily, they were arrested. The spokesperson said the students who were arrested will also be referred for Yale disciplinary action, which includes a range of possible sanctions including reprimand, probation and suspension.

In a statement, the New Haven Police Department confirmed it assisted the university police officers around 6:30 a.m. on Monday. It said the people arrested were charged with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor. They were taken to a Yale police facility, where they were processed and released.

The police department said as long as the protest at Grove and College Streets remains peaceful, there were no plans to make any additional arrests.

"It's ludicrous that students are being charged with criminal trespassing for peacefully protesting on their own campus," Chisato Kimura, a Yale Law Student, said, according to a statement released by Occupy Beinecke.

The ongoing demonstration arose after Yale's Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility decided that military weapons manufacturing for authorized sales did not "meet the threshold of grave social injury, a prerequisite for divestment."

The group's so-called occupation of Beinecke Plaza, which was the location for Yale student protests during the divestment campaign against South African apartheid in the mid-1980s, began last week when students placed dozens of books outside the Schwarzman Center.

A university spokesperson said officials spent several hours with student protesters on Sunday, offering them the opportunity to meet with trustees, including the chair of the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility, but the offer was declined.

According to Occupy Beinecke organizers, they declined the meeting because they said it "would not be productive unless students and trustees had equal access to information on Yale's holdings."

"Administrators offered to disseminate already-public asset allocation reports, but refused to commit to any form of additional disclosure," the group said in a statement. "After being given only ten minutes to decide on the administration's final offer, students rejected and stated that they would stay in the encampment until demands were met."

On Sunday, Yale University President Peter Salovey issued a statement on the protests, saying that the university supports free speech and civil discourse and also must focus on campus safety and maintaining university operations.

"Many of the students participating in the protests, including those conducting counterprotests, have done so peacefully," Salovey said. "However, I am aware of reports of egregious behavior, such as intimidation and harassment, pushing those in crowds, removal of the plaza flag, and other harmful acts." 

A Jewish Yale student reported over the weekend that she was struck in the eye by a flagpole wielded by a protester waving a Palestinian flag. Sahar Tartak, editor-in-chief of the Yale Free Press, said she was assaulted Saturday night while covering demonstrations on the campus.

"I wear a Star of David necklace," she told CBS New York. "One of them taunted me by waving a Palestinian flag in my face and jabbed me with it in the eye." 

She said she was treated at a hospital and is recovering. 

Yale police said they are investigating, saying in a statement, "The university does not tolerate violence, threats, harassment or intimidation of members of our community, and is providing support to a student who made the report."

Salovey said university leaders had spoken to protesters about the importance of following school policies and guidelines. 

"Putting up structures, defying the directives of university officials, staying in campus spaces past allowed times, and other acts that violate university policies and guidelines create safety hazards and impede the work of our university," he said.

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