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Police break through barricade at University of New Mexico encampment, haul away activists

Police in riot gear remove activists who refused to leave building

Law enforcement broke through a barricade early this morning and arrested activists who refused orders to vacate the University of New Mexico student union.

Yesterday, activists attempted to occupy the student union as part of an ongoing protest against Israel and the university’s policies which included an encampment beginning last week.

Students set up their tents inside the student union building but were arrested and removed, according to media reporting and online posts.

“Divest, we will not stop, we will not rest,” students chanted as they marched into the student union building.

They continued chanting as they set up tents inside the building yesterday.

“The people united, will never be divided,” students chanted from inside.

Earlier in the day an activist said, “In case you’re wondering, we don’t plan on going anywhere,” according to a video posted by UNM Solidarity Encampment.

“Around 40 protesters remained after organizers warned of the risk of arrest for staying put and began sharing tips for how to navigate police interactions and what to expect after getting arrested,” KUNM, the campus radio station, reported.

KUNM reported further:

Around 3 a.m., a UNM Police vehicle parked outside the building warned the encampment to disperse.

“Anyone left inside the Student Union Building past 30 minutes will be considered as criminally trespassing on the University of New Mexico property. This is a criminal act,” an officer’s voice boomed over a loudspeaker. “If you do not comply with this order, you will be arrested. Force may be used against you. As well as the criminal act, you are also in violation of the University of New Mexico policies and procedures and therefore could face potential administrative sanctions.”

Video from KUNM shows police in riot gear getting into formation before moving in to remove the trespassers.

Videos from Instagram also show police clearing the building in riot gear, sometimes tackling activists to the ground.

“@unmpalestinesolidaritycamp has occupied the #UNM Student Union Building in solidarity with our allies across the world who are ensuring that #Gaza is not forgotten,” the group wrote on Instagram.

“The media and politicians seek to co-opt the narrative, throwing all manner of sickening accusations in an effort to talk about anything other than what we are demanding. A #freepalestine,” they wrote. “We will not stop. We will not be silenced. We will not be waylaid by disingenuous actors seeking to distract.”

Protests have continued throughout the country.

Columbia University activists stormed a building and took it over last night, leading to a campus lockdown.

MORE: Police deploy tear gas to break up violent pro-Palestinian VCU protest

IMAGE: UNM Solidarity Encampment/Instagram

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.