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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 18, May 4, 2024

Wave of Pro-Palestinian Student Protests in American Universities and the Crackdown on these | Soma Marla

Saturday 4 May 2024, by Soma S. Marla


Students across the United States in campuses from Columbia to Emory to California are protesting in solidarity with Palestine. Protests expressing anguish about Israeli genocide are now spilling over to university campuses in Paris and other European universities as well. Police in the USA are brutally pounding protesting students and arresting them. Administration in Universities are calling state police, evacuating protesters from campuses and expelling dozens of students. But young boys and girls are relentless in their courage and hundreds of students and faculty are joining the protests by each passing day. Spring on campus coincides with the end of the academic year and is jubilant with convocations. However, University administrations are expelling final year graduating students for their participation in solidarity protests. A few days back, Archita Sivalingam, who is about to be awarded her degree was expelled from Princeton College.

Photo of Protestor being arrested at UCLA | Photo Eric Kelly -

Occupy the Campuses

In several US universities student sit-ins on campus became a common site. Protesting students are demanding a boycott of US companies supplying arms to the invading Israeli regime. For the last few days, pro-Palestinian protesters started occupying academic buildings on campus from Columbia (New York), and Los Angeles (California) to Texas. In California, LA campus serious clashes took place between pro-Israeli protesters ( allegedly financed by Jewish oligarchy in US) and pro-Palestinian protesters. In LA California and Columbia campuses police violently beat the pro-Palestine protesters, dragged them out of academic buildings and vacated the campuses. As of Wednesday [May 1, 2024] violent Police action against students is continuing.

Over 300 dead Palestinians were found in mass graves lying below the ruins of two hospital compounds in the ongoing Israeli invasion. United Nations has called for an investigation into this barbaric incident. Even some European nations have backed the UN call for an investigation into the gory act. Amidst the continuing invasion of Rapha, Gaza, deaths of thousands of innocent children and women, the United States administration hand in gloves with the colonial Zionist regime, and shamelessly extended $ 26 billion to Israel, exporting bomber jets and other arms.

Israeli invaders are not even sparing doctors, health personnel and even aid workers of World Kitchen and others distributing food to the starving Gazan populations.

In the USA, Universities like Harvard, Columbia and other Ivy League institutions are heavily funded by Billionaires living in America. The University administrators naturally are obeying the interests of their donors and crushing their own student community. As Israeli billionaires in USA have high stakes in the military industry, naturally they support Israeli invasion and hence suppress the solidarity voice of youth on campuses. Sadly, Pro-Palestinian protests are equated with anti-Zionist.

Worldwide student Solidarity

Students across the world expressed solidarity with the US student protesters. The Arab and Maghreb Youth Student Front, “global youth student battle in support of Palestinian resistance” and other student organizations across Asia and Europe are expressing solidarity with Palestine and rapidly joining the protests and sit-ins in various Universities. A video showing the knocking down, and handcuffing of a senior Professor at Emory University, Noell Mc Afee, Atlanta by the National Guard for showing solidarity with protesting students shocked and anguished people around the world. Similar acts of brutality against protesting students and faculty are being witnessed from Yale to Harvard.

Israel is the last post of Western imperialism. But it can not continue its heinous oppression of freedom-loving Palestinians and has to submit to global support to Palestine similar to what happened in Vietnam in 70’s.

(Author: Dr. Soma Marla, Principal Scientist & Head, Genomics division, Retd.NBPGR ICAR. New Delhi)

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