US academic groups decry police force in campus protest crackdowns

Daily News Egypt
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“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the heavy-handed, militaristic response to student activism that we are seeing across the country,” said a statement by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

The statement, signed by more than 50 chapters at various universities, said that many university leaders are condoning violent arrests and responding to peaceful protests with law enforcement in riot gear.

The Associated Press reports that over 2,400 protesters have been arrested since April 17 on more than 45 US campuses.

The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) added its condemnation. “We denounce police brutality and the militarization of campuses sanctioned by institutional leaders,” MERIP said in a statement.

New York City has been an epicenter of the crackdown, with over 450 arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters at colleges since April 17. Mayor Eric Adams defended the actions, citing a disruption to academic life and the role of outside agitators.

Ana Maria Archila, a director of the New York Working Families Party, sharply disagreed. “We condemn the use of militarized police force against students in the strongest possible terms and affirm their right to assemble peacefully,” she said on social media.

“This is a shameful day in our city’s history, and one that will not be forgotten,” Archila added, referencing the crackdowns at Columbia University and City College of New York.

Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, pushed back on the notion of outside agitators. “There are no outside agitators in the fight against injustice, and everybody with a conscience… has a right and a responsibility to join the fight,” Dix said at a rally on Saturday.

The AAUP warned that suppression of protests is part of an ongoing attack meant to undermine U.S. higher education.They called on university leaders to drop charges against protesters, keep armed police off campuses, and uphold fundamental freedoms.

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