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

Police deployed tear gas at a pro-Palestinian occupation-encampment protest at Virginia Commonwealth University on Monday night as demonstrators hurled objects at officers.

Richmond Times-Dispatch reporters at the park described a chaotic scene, starting at around 8:30 p.m., of protesters hurling objects at the police. Officers, some in riot gear, were seen spraying some sort of chemical agent to disperse the crowd. Witnesses said police made several arrests,” the newspaper reported.

Samuel Parker, a breaking news reporter for the Times-Dispatch, posted on X a series of videos showing the escalating clashes between officers and demonstrators, including showing the officers move into the encampment with force, deploy the tear gas, and break down the encampment as protesters chanted and at times pushed back.

A longer video posted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch shows a line of officers donning riot gear press into the barricaded crowd, whose members strongly push back and refuse to disperse or obey the officers’ demands.

The Lt. Gov. of Virginia, Winsome Earle-Sears, posted on X late Monday that when a “‘peaceful protest’ causes extreme fear, and becomes violent, there is nothing peaceful about it. History shows America has been down this road before when Black people suffered greatly. We will NOT support those who cause Jews to feel absolute terror.”

In a statement to ABC news, VCU stated that the “gathering violated several university policies. VCU respectfully and repeatedly provided opportunities for those individuals involved — many of whom were not students — to collect their belongings and leave.”

“Those who did not leave were subject to arrest for trespassing. While supporting an environment that fosters protected speech and expressive activity, VCU must maintain an atmosphere free of disruption to the university’s mission,” it added.

The protest had begun earlier Monday after students set up a so-called “liberation zone.” Tents were erected as the demonstrators “formed a barrier around the zone,” WRIC Virginia reported.

“Similar to others, the VCU student protesters are demanding that the school declare support for a permanent and immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and condemn the U.S.’s ‘complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza,'” the news station reported.

MORE: UCLA becomes hotbed of anti-Israel hate

IMAGE: 1000 Words / Shutterstock

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.