Anti-Israel protest at University of Texas (archive)
Anti-Israel protest at University of Texas (archive)Reuters/USA TODAY NETWORK

More than a dozen protesters were arrested at the University of Texas at Dallas on Wednesday afternoon after law enforcement dismantled an encampment that pro-Palestinian Arab students set up in the early morning hours, The Dallas News reported.

Hundreds had gathered at the campus’ Chess Plaza, which students renamed “The Gaza Liberation Plaza” during the demonstration, setting up tents and a barrier made of pallets, tires and signs, according to the report.

As of 5:00 p.m., 17 demonstrators were arrested for criminal trespassing, according to UTD officials.

Students began the demonstration saying they want the university divest “from five militarism manufacturers and war profiteers that have been enabling the ongoing genocide in Gaza: Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing.”

School administrators told the students on Wednesday morning that suspension and expulsion are an option if they didn’t disperse, said Fatima Ahmed, a fourth-year student at UTD.

Two UTD officials approached the encampment at about 3:40 p.m., handing a letter to student leaders ordering them to immediately remove “all tents and structures” or face institutional and criminal consequences, according to a student who read the letter to the crowd.

“Failure to comply with this instruction may result in removal for criminal trespass or other violations of state law and/or sanctions under the student code of conduct as appropriate,” the letter reads, according to The Dallas News.

“Free, free Palestine,” she then chanted. “Long live Palestine.”

Just after the letter was delivered, dozens of state troopers in riot gear and campus police began approaching the encampment.

They made their first five arrests within minutes and dismantled nearly the entire encampment within about 20 minutes, according to the report. Additional law enforcement arrived to help campus police throughout the late afternoon and early evening, including those from the Allen Police Department and Collin County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident was the latest in a series of anti-Israel protests at campuses across the US, which at times have turned violent.

On Tuesday night, police officers entered Columbia University as pro-Palestinian Arab protesters remained on the campus.

Police officers also restored order on the CUNY City College of New York campus after it had been overrun by anti-Israel protesters.

Nearly 282 individuals were arrested overnight at both CCNY and Columbia.

Other recent incidents of anti-Israel violence on campuses include a clash between pro-Palestinian Arab and pro-Israel demonstrators at the UCLA campus on Sunday.

Last week, at least 45 pro-Palestinian Arab protesters were arrested at Yale University after police in riot gear stormed the campus during a protest.

Last Wednesday, police arrested over a dozen people, including a local news photographer, at a pro-Palestinian Arab protest at the University of Texas at Austin.