Pro-Palestine protests spread to more countries starting Saturday, amid arrests of more than 550 protesters on American campuses, as U.S. policy on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East unleashed simmering anger.

Law enforcement actions against peaceful protesters, and sometimes bystanders, have exacerbated tensions rather than calming the situation, with analysts highlighting the hypocrisy of democracy and human rights in the US.

At the prestigious Sciences Po University in Paris, a student demonstration was seen as an intensified expression of pro-Palestinian sentiment, according to media reports.

“The students were inspired by what is happening on various American campuses, whether at Columbia or Harvard,” a student at the scene told Abu Dhabi-based National News.

Similar protests were held on British campuses, including University College London, according to media reports.

New clashes between police and students who oppose the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war in Gaza have erupted again following the mass arrests at Columbia University last week. A Reuters tally said nearly 550 arrests had been made at major U.S. universities.

Columbia has moved to hybrid learning and some universities and the University of Southern California have canceled the big graduation ceremony scheduled for May 10, according to the Washington Times.

Images showing police officers kneeling on protesters, and sometimes on passersby, have gone viral on social media platforms. Reuters reported that police used Tasers and tear gas against student protesters at Emory University in Atlanta.

US Senator Josh Hawley has demanded the mobilization of the National Guard to calm the situation, but concerns are growing that such a move would also backfire, just as law enforcement actions in Columbia have sparked more protests across the country.

Analysts have said that such anti-war protests are the natural result of the growing discrepancy between continued US support for Israel in the Gaza war and public sentiment and belief in basic human rights and democracy.

The Biden administration is in a dilemma as a change in policy towards Israel is unfeasible, while continuing support means a high possibility of more widespread and more violent protests, said Lü Xiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Social, to the Global Times. .

U.S. State Department Arabic-language spokeswoman Hala Rharrit, after serving at the department for nearly two decades, resigned in opposition to U.S. policy on Gaza, becoming at least the third resignation from the department over the matter, according to media reports.

Violent domestic protests and similar international actions have proven the isolation and unpopularity of the US position on the issue, and the treatment of student protesters has exposed the US government’s hypocrisy regarding democracy and human rights, experts said.

Since this round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, more than 34,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed by Israel’s retaliation for a Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, which killed 1,139 on the Israeli side.

Via Global Times.


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