Watch CBS News

Pro-Palestinian encampment at University of Pittsburgh cleared out overnight

Pro-Palestinian protesters clear out encampment near Pitt's Cathedral of Learning
Pro-Palestinian protesters clear out encampment near Pitt's Cathedral of Learning 01:49

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- An encampment that was set up by pro-Palestinian protesters near the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh's campus in Oakland has been cleared out and is being taken down. 

Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, protesters occupying the camp outside the Cathedral of Learning began to clear out. No arrests were made and the encampment was cleared peacefully.

An encampment that was set up outside by pro-Palestinian protestors outside the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh's campus in Oakland was cleared out overnight after a meeting between trusted leaders in the encampment, Mayor Ed Gainey, and representatives from the Mayor's Office. No arrests were made. KDKA Photojournalist Brian Smithmyer

"First and foremost, we're just thankful for a peaceful resolution to a very tense day," said Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto.

Chief Scirotto said the clearing of the encampment came following a meeting between Mayor Ed Gainey, representatives from the mayor's office and "trusted members" from within the camp.

"People had the opportunity to be heard. That's their objective," Scirotto said. "Our goal is to keep a safe environment. During that process, we were both able to achieve our objectives."

"We understand and protect the First Amendment. That's our primary obligation as an organization," Chief Scirotto said. "We take that obligation seriously, and we were able to fulfill that obligation. That's our goal every night."

Scirotto said that since the encampment was set up on university property, Pitt is responsible for tearing down the fencing and other materials.  

Workers from Pitt began tearing down the encampment just before 7 a.m. on Tuesday. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Gainey said, in part:

"My role, as mayor of the city of Pittsburgh, is to keep this city safe. And last night our number one priority was about finding a way towards a safe resolution to a situation that had become unstable."

Demands of protesters at the University of Pittsburgh's encampment

The encampment was set up on Sunday evening with protesters asking for a number of things from the university  

statement they posted on Instagram said in part that "From its continued and deafening silence to material investments in the 'Israel' occupation, Pitt maintains its complicity in genocide in Gaza."

Protesters were also asking the school to "disclose all university investments" and "divest University of Pittsburgh finances, including the endowment, from companies and institutions that profit from Israel," among other things.

This comes after the Schenley Plaza encampment near the University of Pittsburgh was cleared in late April near the end of the academic year. 

At the time, two people were arrested by Pitt Police as protesters tried to occupy the area around the Cathedral of Learning.

College campuses across the United States have seen demonstrations since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began in October.  

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.