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Anti-Israel protesters take over library at Cornell, police called in

Protesters at Cornell University demanding divestment from Israel took over the Mann Library on Thursday where they read off the names of Palestinians killed in the four-month-long Israel-Hamas war.

According to The Cornell Daily Sun, the approximately 100 activists of the Coalition for Mutual Liberation’s “Walk Out To a Die In” also chanted “Cornell is complicit in genocide.”

The protest was a direct response to the Student Assembly’s rejection of an Israeli divestment resolution on February 5.

Campus police eventually were called in to “remove and collect identification from the students” and to “refer [them] for disciplinary action.”

After the cops’ arrival, many of the demonstrators left the library to then occupy “other libraries and academic buildings.”

The activists were in violation of Cornell’s two-week-old “Interim Expressive Activity Policy” which says protests must “avoid disrupting classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, laboratories, living units, administrative offices and special event venues.”

Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina said demonstrations “must comply with our time, place and manner guidelines to ensure the ability of our faculty and students to teach and learn without disruption.”

MORE: ‘Zionists must die,’ Cornell student and former White House intern says

Protest participant Nick Wilson of The People’s Organizing Collective called the new activity policy “absolutely absurd and draconian.” He specifically lamented the prohibition on candles — what “people are using to mourn the loss of civilian lives.”

According to the report, one person in the library took exception to the demonstration and a “physical altercation” ensued:

[Student Aaron-Onuigbo] Kingsley alleged that the man “was screaming at us, telling us that we were the ones killing the Palestinians, Hamas hates homosexuals and lesbians and gays, and that we are at fault, we are wasting our parent’s money.”

Kingsley said that despite the man’s words, protestors were brought together.

“It was really cool. We banded together and ensured our chants were louder than his words,” Kingsley said.

The POC’s Wilson alleged the scuffle “would have garnered more public sympathy” if the activists were not pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel: “I think you would hear about that very quickly. Not only from the University itself but in national media.”

A student present at the library during the protest complained how noisy the activists were, noting one with a megaphone shouted “If you think 15 minutes is going to disrupt your studying, then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands.”

MORE: Online threats to kill Jewish students at Cornell prompt increased security, FBI probe

IMAGE: Party for Socialism and Liberation/X

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